GAME NAME: After Hours Athletes
DEVELOPER(S): XDev Studios
RELEASE DATE(S): 18 November 2011
Ever wanted to be the ultimate athlete but sport has never really been your thing? But your bar loitering is a mastered specialty? After Hour Athletes may just be for you. This game, designed for use with the Playstation Move controllers, comes with three such ‘after hours’ sports, including Ten Pin Bowling, Pool and Darts.
High Velocity Bowling
Starting with the worst, the bowling is a bit of a conundrum. Based on other bowling games using motion controls, and with the precision of the Move, bowling should really be a fun experience. Sadly it is not. At all. You get to choose from a number of different modes, including a standard tournament, trickshots where you make seemingly impossible shots and challenges where you complete different objectives to unlock more challenges.
When players actually get to the bowling they will realise that it has a poorly executed system. You line up your shot by placing an arrow where you want to stand, followed up by moving the arrow in the direction you want the ball to go. Setting the direction using buttons will have you wondering what the point of the motion controls are. Good question. To complete the throw you hold the trigger button, pull your arm back, push forward and release the ball. While this makes decent use of the Move control there is little effect from hand movement, making it a hollow experience.
Hustle Kings is an improvement over the bowling. Pool is a game loved by many, from a social as well as a competitive aspect. Like the bowling there are a decent amount of modes, from the common 9-ball to the more unusual Cutthroat, Hustle Kings pretty much covers it all. The game is also split up into a career mode, exhibition games as well as trickshot and bonus challenges.
The pool section works relatively well. You adjust your cue by moving the Move controller into position, add spin, check for direction and make your shots. Some realism is added as you need to chalk the cue at the right time in order for your shots to remain accurate. Hustle Kings has some nice touches and conveys the atmosphere of bar pool rather well. Games are often short lived, but this will be dependent on which variation you are playing.
Undoubtedly the best of the lot, Top Darts is a real treat. Not everyone is aware just how popular darts is and it generally draws some large crowds for competitions across the US and Britain. It has a cultured feeling to it that is brought into the game well. You can choose from a number of different venues with all sorts of novelty boards for extra effect. The game then has a choice of just about every darts variation in existence. The classic mode – where you need to clear a certain score – is used for the league and tournament modes, while you have the option of nine other modes to play against the AI or a friend.
There are too many modes to mention them all, but each is notably different from the next and requires some or other skill or strategy in order to win. An example, and notably the most popular game played is called “Cricket” where players are required to close off numbers and score points from it before the opponent closes the number. Some of the modes are far less complicated and range from simply having to get a high score with 9 darts to a battleships and tic-tac-toe variation. Each one is worth playing and contains plenty of fun. The actual throwing of the darts uses the Move control effectively and a steady hand will certainly be needed to hit that triple 20 score. Just don’t let go.
Each game comes with a set of extras such as unlockable characters, pool tables, bowling balls, dart boards, venues, as well as trophies and different challenges. Online modes are included, giving players a chance to play against other pub-nuts and each game also has local multiplayer which is probably the best way to play.
The sound in the games is mostly unremarkable. Ten Pin has annoying comments from the characters, Hustle Kings has terribly repetitive music playing on a loop, and Top Darts has a commentator who before long you may want to pin to the oche. The graphics suffice without really shining.
Puma’s After Hour Athletes is a really mixed bag. While bowling is stuck somewhere in the gutter, Hustle Kings is somewhat snookered, yet Top Darts really hits the bullseye. There is certainly enough content in this package to keep you busy for a while and darts is definitely a great game for a party or with a few friends over. While not amazing, After Hour Athletes would make a decent addition to your Move collection.