When EA announced they were offering an NHL ’94-inspired bonus game this year, it was a weird choice. It’s not an anniversary year for the game, but none-the-less, EA decided to offer NHL 94 Rewind as a bonus game for those who pre-ordered NHL 21. Now, after just over a month since the game was exclusive to pre-orders, it’s available for free if you’re a member of EA Play on PlayStation or Xbox Game Pass. Unfortunately, outside of the trip down memory lane, after you’ve played a game, you won’t want to play anymore.
NHL 94 Rewind does feature a few game types: Regular Season (which is essentially just an exhibition match), Playoffs (either single-elimination or 7 game series), and Shootout. There is some customization including the auto line-changes, how goalies are controlled, and turning on or off offsides. There is no online play, so if you want to play with others, it’s strictly couch-play.
It’s nice that there are options to play with. I was expecting just an exhibition game option and maybe a playoff mode but including shootouts and some variety with the playoffs is nice. However, I don’t expect people to go full seven-game series on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. As for shootouts, they are fine but once you’ve tried it out, you won’t feel the need to go at it a second time.
On the ice, the controls are super basic. It’s more-or-less “pass” and “shoot”, with a dump the puck option on offense. On defense, you can switch between players, hit players, or turbo. I fully understand trying to make it as accessible as possible and keeping it retro, but including some sort of deke button or some other form of depth on defense wouldn’t have hurt.
The performance on the ice is awful. Players are float on the ice with no real sense of control. Your AI is pitiful, never getting open, and regularly going offside. Whil