There I am. Day two of PAX East. Do my legs work? No. Do I need some quality gaming in my life? Probably. Could I use a beer? Absolutely.
So imagine my surprise when a game comes out of the blue and gets my blood flowing all over again – that game is Ultimate Rivals: The Rink, out right now on Apple Arcade.
If you haven’t seen it already, Ultimate Rivals is a new sports franchise that pits 60+ all-star athletes from all five major American sports leagues in an officially licensed face-off of monumental proportions. Ever wanted to see Lebron James face off against Wayne Gretsky in a hockey rink? You got it. Need Alex Morgan in the mix to continue reinforcing the fact that the USWNT needs to be paid triple whatever the bums on the USMNT are being paid? Done. Feel like your team needs some pinstripes and want Giancarlo Stanton in there for whatever reason? You got that too.
One of my favorite aspects of Ultimate Rivals is the art style. Don’t just listen to me though, here’s a quote from the Principal Art Director, Branislav Perkovic:
Ultimate Rivals draws on the futuristic sports vision that Bit Fry CEO and franchise creator Ben Freidlin wanted for the product. I worked closely with him and our lead character artist Goran Bukvic to draw on many commercial art influences, including Frank Miller’s Batman, the work that Goran did on Gears of War, and even films like Tron and Bladerunner. Giving a fresh look to sports games that was aspirational and cool for fans of all ages was a critical goal. We wanted it to look familiar, yet still like nothing anyone’s ever seen in this category. I’m really happy with the result.– Branislav Perkovic, Principal Art Director, Bit Fry Game Studio
Ultimate rivals is a fast-paced, 3v3 hockey title that absolutely demands your attention. Is it fast-paced and fun? Yes. Could it cripple your friendships? Possibly. Do you need to play it right now? I’d say so. If playing pickup games with players from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL, WNBA, and USWNT sounds like your idea of a good time, Ultimate Rivals has the cure for your itch. It’s basically the “Backyard Sports” franchise for the new generation, and I can’t say enough good about it.
If you’re a fan of NHL Hitz, NHL ’94, or any other arcade-y hockey games from years past, you owe it to yourself to give Ultimate Rivals a spin. The game is exclusive to Apple Arcade, but its never been a better time to take the free trial for a ride if you haven’t already.
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