Icon Games continues its series of games based on arcade classics with Arcade Darts. Arcade Darts is a PSP Mini, and has many of qualities of a full-fledged downloadable release. With various modes, pick up and play gameplay, and even multiplayer between PSP’s, this game is a decent offering for anyone willing to pick it up and give it a shot.
The various modes included here are Career, Arcade, Multiplayer, Versus, Tournament and Practice. Career mode and Arcade mode are the most robust of the set. In career mode, you go through various championship darts tournaments, with different rule sets, to become the best darts player in the world. Arcade mode is similar, but instead of being in tournaments, you go through each AI opponent, one by one, with each one having a different rule set for your match.
The other modes such as Versus, Tournament and Practice are all single play games, with you being able to set all the parameters for what you want to play. The final mode, Multiplayer, is simply you playing against a friend. You can set up everything you want here, such as the rule sets and even customize the darts board and darts.
All of the modes have their own place in this set, as you can pretty much play the way you want to. It is good that most of the games don’t take too long, as it is definitely a game that you just want to pick up and play for a few minutes and then set down. There really isn’t any way that I could see this game being played for a long run, as it can wear out its welcome pretty quick, unless you are really into darts. Its is a good timewaster, a game that you can pick up on the bus as you ride into work (if you are in a bigger city) or if you just need to kill time in a doctor’s office and such.
When it comes down to the gameplay, it is really hard to get much simpler. You choose what area you want to aim and press X, then at the bottom of the screen there is a dart that is moving to the left and to the right, when you hit X again at the right moment, this selects your pitch. Finally, a bar goes up and down on where you selected your pitch, and this determines your height and power. Most of the time it is best to put the area you want to aim at down and to the right, and then make sure you press right on the pitch and up on the height, and you will most likely hit your target. Overall, the gameplay is simple and streamlined, but ultimately, it can be often frustrating if you don’t time something just right.
One of the main problems in this game is the AI. The AI starts off slow and doesn’t seem to be thinking at all, as it will sometimes randomly throw a wild dart all over the board, so with the strategy I just mentioned, it should be very easy to take them out. The difficulty ramps up fast in the career and arcade modes, as it doesn’t take long for your opponents to begin to crush you. It seems like the AI is not thinking in the beginning, but it seems in the end that the AI has superhero like accuracy. It is just not consistent, and leads to a very frustrating experience. Another problem that I seemed to have with the game is the lengthy load times. For a game based on pick up and play mentality, a thirty second load times certainly breaks up the action.
As a whole, Arcade Darts is not a bad game. Its fun, and like I said it is a good timewaster. The problem is that it still has some shortcomings that are hard to overlook, such as the AI and the load times, that deters me from recommending it. If you have four dollars to spend and want a game you can play for fifteen minutes, then it might be a good choice, but there are certainly other PSP Minis that deserve your attention and money elsewhere.
Review copy provided by publisher.