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Pass – but not as in pass the puck. This is a game that does not translate well to the tiny screen of the GBA, simply because shortcuts had to be made graphically that took out a big reason to play the Backyard titles – personality. Solid options but the game falters in terms of gameplay, graphics and sound.
Playing Backyard Hockey makes me wish for the return of true hockey on the Game Boy Advance. There has only been one five-on-five hockey title on the handheld, and that's far too few if you ask me. The Backyard Hockey box should be plenty obvious that a real rendition of the sport isn't inside, but what's there isn't as bad as it appears to be. There's a lot of decent ideas and implementations in this kids' based hockey title...it just needs to be fleshed out in a true hockey experience for the pros.
Overall, this game certainly had potential to be lots of fun and something to satisfy my craving for a new GBA Hockey game. Unfortunately, because of this game's unpolished nature, slow game play with no option to speed it up and some very odd rules and simple mistakes, this is not a game I will be playing in the future. This title would still be suitable for a child and could very well entertain him/her for a good period of time, but for the big kid in us, the mistakes are too noticeable and annoying. So for us older kids, until the next NHL release on GBA, I guess it's back to the classic 16-bit SNES\Genesis to GBA adaptation that is NHL 2002.