Plus, air hockey, the arcade attraction on which the WiiWare game is based, is generally awesome and underrepresented in games. The combination of good family sports game series and air hockey seemed like a natural winner.
"Natural" and "winner" are two appelations that fail to describe Family Glide Hockey in any way.
If that method of play sounds uninspiring, there's always "auto" mode, in which the game moves the mallet for you and you just control the jabbing and special shots. As an experiment, I set the game to auto mode and put the controller down for a match. I kind of wish I could have won for dramatic purposes, but unfortunately I didn't.
I only scored three points.
As much as I love air hockey, I admit that most of my attempts to play the real game result in random goals on either side -- the puck just sort of bounces around wildly until it clatters into someone's goal. Family Glide Hockey exacerbates this problem with a design idea that seems fun at first: unusual, gimmicky tables. There's an ice-themed table with sliding iceberg-things, a woodland table with a curved shape and moving goals, and a table with jagged sides. All of which have the effect of making the damn puck fly around erratically. Don't bother trying to place your shots! They're just going to go wherever.
Beyond the single-player and obligatory multiplayer modes, Family Glide Hockey features three minigames. Glide Hockey Tracer, about changing the colors of groups of blocks by running the puck over them, is actually kind of fun, while Glide Hockey Drill, about trying to answer math problems by aiming the puck at the correct solution, is just frustrating. Right between the two (but falling loser to the "fun" side) is Glide Hockey Brawl, a game that scores you based on the collisions between your puck and bowling-pin-style arrangements of pucks.
Between the boring controls and the seeming lack of player determination of success -- along with smaller complaints like the way that sound effects make the music cut out -- there's basically nothing to recommend here. The fact that the minigames are reasonably okay (Tracer is a little bit addictive!) makes Family Glide Hockey far from the worst WiiWare offering, but it's still bland at best.
Final score: 3.5/10