A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Ultimate Rivals: The Rink isn't attempting to deliver a message to players, because it's simply a fantasy action sports game.
Positive Role Models
Game consists of two teams, each with three players based on real-world athletes, such as Alex Ovechkin from the NHL, NBA baller De'aaron Fox, and soccer star Alex Morgan (U.S. Women's National Team) -- most of whom are great role models. Game has exaggerated cartoon version of them. Wide amount of diversity in gender and race for the players.
Ease of Play
Despite fast pace, game is easy to play with thumbs on a touchscreen or with optional controller. A short tutorial preps the player with instructions, which can be accessed at any time by selecting the Help menu.
Violence & Scariness
Some animated combat, such as body-checking an opponent, which may cause the other player to fall down. No one's ever shown hurt.
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Products & Purchases
Based on real-world players from real sports organizations including the NHL, NBA, WNBA, NFL, MLB, and U.S. Women's National Soccer Team. Logos from real teams. The game is part of Apple Arcade, which prohibits in-game ads and purchases.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ultimate Rivals: The Rink is a fast-paced arcade sports game for Apple Arcade. The action pits real-world athletes against one another (even from varying sports leagues) in a futuristic arena. As an arcade hockey game of sorts, it has body-checking, which might knock down an opponent, but there's no NHL-like fistfights or blood shown. Players will see plenty of logos on arenas and jerseys for a player's professional sports league, but there's no additional advertising included in the game since it's part of Apple Arcade, which forbids in-game ads or purchases.
Is It Any Good?
This fast-paced, futuristic hockey game -- with familiar characters -- offers short, intense rounds of play, making it ideal for when you only have a few minutes to kill. The best part of Ultimate Rivals: The Rink is experimenting with your characters by playing up their strengths. LA Lakers' LeBron James, for example, excels in offense but is weaker in defense, and as a goalie has weak endurance but strong recovery and extremely high maneuverability. The game also features sport-specific moves, which you can play around with, such as special dekes by soccer players or heavy hits from the NFLers. It's also fun to see what each of the Ultimate Abilities can do. When it comes to single-player modes, there's Instant Action, where you're in a game within a few seconds, and Solo Play, which lets you first choose from one of three rinks (in NYC, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.) and choose difficulty level (Easy, Medium, Hard). As for multiplayer, the Challenge Friend mode has been newly added since the game debuted, allowing you to invite a friend or wait for an invite, but the opponent must be a Game Center friend. Finally, there's Online 1v1, which tells the game to go out and find a random opponent for you to play against.
You may wait for too long for an opponent and give up, which suggests that there aren't a lot of players out there, but there might be another reason for it. There's a new Instant Rematch option that's been added, in case you lost by a slim margin and want to quickly get back in to even the score, so plenty of people may be constantly replaying each other. For the future, it would be awesome to allow three people to control all three players on a team, in an online 6v6 multiplayer match (with voice support). The camera would have to be higher up, but it could be a stellar (but ambitious) addition in a future update. If you're looking for a quick fix but still enjoy some depth to athletes and how you utilize them, Ultimate Rivals: The Rink is well worth your time and energy, and isn't one to skate past.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.