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May 2024

Goons: Legends & Mayhem

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Firestoke
Developer: RageCure Games
Release Date: 2024


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Switch/PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'Goons: Legends & Mayhem'

by Cody Medellin on March 7, 2024 @ 12:30 a.m. PST

Goons: Legends & Mayhem brings cartoon brawling action to the sport of hockey, delivering fun multiplayer matches where outrageous special abilities are key to your goal of getting the puck into the net.

Hockey fans haven't seen a serious simulation style game on the PC for a long time. The exception has been the Hockey Manager Series, but for players looking for more than spreadsheets, all of the playable hockey experiences native to the PC have been arcade-style titles in the same vein as Mutant League Hockey or NHL Hitz. Goons: Legends & Mayhem is another arcade-style hockey game for the PC, but it plays out so differently that it can be classified as more than just another arcade-style sports game. We checked out the demo from the latest Steam Next Fest and came away intrigued by where the title seems to be going.

The first thing that stands out is the presence of a story, something you don't often see in sports games. The land of Zambonia is a peaceful one, and hockey is a way of life. However, a mysterious purple cloud arrived and transformed some people into mindless minions who want to eradicate any traces of hockey. You play the role of a wizard who banished the source of the purple cloud long ago and has once again taken it upon himself to imprison said cloud — this time with the help of other like-minded hockey fans.

As a hockey game, it has a pretty simple control scheme that fits with the sport. This is ice hockey, so you're always skating on the ice when you move. You can execute passes, wrist shots, and powerful slap shots with the hit of a button or two. Special shots can be done with a separate button, and the same applies to the dash move.

Keeping those controls in mind is important because the first thing you'll do is play through an adventure portion of the game, which is done from a top-down perspective. You'll skate around collecting coins while breaking items and knocking out possessed hockey players with an infinite supply of pucks. You'll always be with a computer-controlled companion, and not only do they take care of enemies on their own, but they are also essential in activating switches in different parts of a level.

The adventure portions are decently sized, but the boss fights get their own stages and hockey rinks. Most of them follow the same pattern of whittling them down to drain their energy bar and then unleashing a powerful slapshot to take down one of their hearts. It's basic, but the fights make the situations exciting. The demo has you fighting off a sentient Zamboni to beating up a possessed fish mascot, and the fights have enough distinct elements that they end up being loads of fun.

Beyond the adventure segments and boss fights, Goons features an overworld map that is reminiscent of Moving Out. For the most part, you'll drive around from one map spot to another, but the game makes this entertaining by giving you a few fights and some quests while in your truck. There are also a few minigames involving the truck, like racing to clean up the ice by picking up the snow.

With all of these packed into the game, it can be easy to forget that there's still a sport present. You can engage in one-on-one, two-on-two, or three-on-three bouts, with each player occupying different roles like being an enforcer or wingman. Each character has distinct powers to use, like unleashing a tornado to confuse people or being able to blink out for a bit. The rinks vary greatly in their configurations, from half-court style to full-court to ones with ramps and different elevations. You'll even get various hazards as the match progresses. It's absolutely chaotic stuff but also wildly entertaining.

At the moment, the presentation aims for something akin to what you'd see in a game like Overcooked. The characters are squat with a cartoon-like look, but their brighter colors help them "pop." The same goes for the environment, which is simple but has little details, like the penguin crowds carrying different items depending on the rink they're in. The music is good, as are the effects, which go have everything getting a hockey-related sound effect, like when you hit a boss with a slapshot and a goal horn sounds. There are no voices, so don't expect gibberish when someone speaks in-game.

Goons: Legends & Mayhem looks to be an inherently goofy and enjoyable adventure with a pleasant presentation. Arcade hockey mechanics in an adventure-style environment is a mix that works well, while the merger of activities also provides gameplay variety. We'll be curious to check out the full game when it drops sometime in 2024.

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