As a sports video game enthusiast and recent iPod and iPad owner, I like to play my games both at home and on the go. I really like NHL 2K11 for the Nintendo Wii, so when I saw it available for mobile devices such as the iPod touch and iPad 2, I just had to download it. I now have fast-paced hockey action wherever I bring my mobile devices.
NHL 2K11 is the latest version of the 2K Sports hockey series. It is available for mobile devices such as the iPhone, Apple iPad 2 or later, and iPod Touch. Make sure to have iOS 3.2 or later before downloading. I downloaded my copy directly from the App Store on each device. The lite version is available as a free download. The full version costs only $4.99.
The free lite version has advertising and limits teams to only the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers, and it allows only one period of play. It gives a very brief commercial before the game loads. However, it is perfect for occasional play, a time filler, or a sneak preview and trial before the buying the full version. The game play is just as fast, fun, and challenging.
The full version allows users to select from all NHL teams for both the user and the computer. It allows full three-period games for either exhibition or full season play -- including playoffs. Additional features include close-up replays and user-controlled replays and camera angles. Application updates are available periodically.
Since these are touch screen devices, the game uses a virtual joystick to control player movements, passes, and shots. My only complaint is that the virtual joystick is a little too much toward the center of the screen for the iPod touch. When I keep my thumb on it, I cannot see the full screen. I get better viewing when I put the iPod down onto a flat surface and use my index finger. On the iPad 2, the screen is large enough to avoid that problem. I would prefer a device tilt feature to make it easier to move the players, but I can live with the virtual joystick.
Skating, passing, and shooting
Use the virtual joystick to control skating, passing, and shooting. It took me some time to get used to the joystick and learn to aim it in the desired direction of the pass or shot. Miscues may result in missed or blocked shots, stolen passes, or icing penalties. For a face-off, keep tapping the button to win and pass the puck. On defense, tap the passing button to select the player closest to the puck. Tap the body check button to check the opponent and steal the puck. Shooting is the hardest for me. I have not made many shots because it is difficult to aim the puck to get past the goalie. It takes a lot of practice to master all of these skills, but I enjoy the challenge.
Graphics and sounds
The graphics and sounds make the game even more interesting. The players look real as they move, and the crowd noises include cheers, boos, and quiet moments to simulate real responses. Puck slaps and body check pops also enhance the game sounds.
Comparison with other systems
I am not a big hockey fan, but I like hockey video games. I have played NHL 2K11 on home consoles and mobile devices. I can honestly say that the mobile versions are just as fast and as much fun as the console versions. NHL 2K11 for mobile devices allows for terrific fast-paced hockey action anywhere and at any time.
2K Sports, NHL 2K11, 2ksports.com/games.
iTunes Preview, NHL 2K11 for iPad, itunes.apple.com/app.
Raymond grew up in the days of Atari and watched the progression of home video game consoles. He has played sports games on most consoles and personal computers as they became available. He now owns multiple game systems and enjoys most professional sports games. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau
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