In an interview with Inside Mobile Apps earlier this year, Chris Golier, the NHL’s vice president of mobile marketing and strategy broke down how the league was looking toward the world of video games to help expand to new audiences.
With the launch of Big Win NHL on Google Play, the expansion continues, as the popular iOS game is finally made available to hockey fans with Android devices.
The game is developed by Hothead games, one of Canada’s largest independent studios, and features over 750 NHL stars, enabling hockey fans to build dream teams while competing for their chance at the Stanley Cup. Big Win NHL also boasts over 100 official NHL uniforms to help customize your team as you skate for mobile glory in the league’s authentic gear.
When you start the game, you’re basically given a starter pack of cards to help build your team. Starter packs consist of 11 player cards, 1 uniform card and 3 big impact cards like the injury free card that prevents injuries during the next game, or the defensive draw card that increases your team’s chances of winning defensive face-offs.
From there, you name your team and jump into an exhibition game to test out how your team performs on virtual skates. During gameplay, you don’t actually control the action, instead, gamers utilize the big impact cards during key points in the contest to influence the outcome. If you don’t want to watch the game, you can simply skip to the end, see how many fans you’ve acquired by winning and scoring goals, then collect reward coins that can then be used to buy additional card packs. So while the game is free-to-play, you can obviously see how spending a few real bucks will help grow your team a lot faster, as you can skip ahead from buying bronze packs to the more lucrative silver and gold player packs to increase your chances of finding one of the NHL’s elite players and adding him to your team.
Adding to the strategy are skill boost cards that can be assigned to specific players on your team. After my first game, I received a reaction card that I then applied to my goalie in order to improve his reaction time and increase his chances of saving more shots.
Aside from quick games, there’s a Quest for the Cup mode that actually puts your fictional squad in a season against all 30 NHL teams as you try to win 40 games to make the playoffs, then move on in attempts to take home the Stanley Cup. Win the championship and your team is rewarded with superstar cards like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin as you head to Facebook and issue challenges to your friends who might still be skating around with those initial bronze players. Talk about online domination.
And according to AppData, Big Win NHL is already the #16 sports game in the United States upon launch, and with the addictive style of play and high initial user ratings, should continue to climb.
Looks like Hothead Games has another winner on its hands.