|System: PSP (Minis)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Icon Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Icon Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 29, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Darts is a simple game, generally played in pubs and at social gatherings. The game itself is simple, and involves throwing small wooden or metal darts at a circular board marked with various point values. Although professional dart throwing leagues exist, the game is largely used as an ice breaking tool among amateur players.
Because of this games cultural status as a tool of social gathering, darts doesnt seem a likely subject for a full game. However, the PSP Minis line of mini-games makes a perfect venue for this type of narrowly-focused title. Arcade Darts tries to recreate the experience of playing darts in a pub. Though there are plenty of modes and the game does have a PS3 remote play option, the games repetitive dart-throwing system makes this a title that falls far short of its potential.
The game has several modes you can start up immediately, including a practice mode, career mode, and tournament mode. The practice mode is the easiest place to start, but it will only take you a few minutes to get the hang of the dart mechanic. To throw a dart, you start out with a moving reticule. This reticule moves in a circular motion and hovers near the center. Once the reticule is over the part of the dart board you want to hit, you press the X button to lock the reticule into place. From there, you will see the dart icon in the lower right-hand corner begin to move left and right. You can press the X button again to lock in an angle to throw. Finally, you will see a meter on the left side of the screen. Pressing the X button again will lock in a speed and launch the dart. Based on these three variables, the dart will hit the board in a specified method.
One of the big problems with Arcade Darts (and perhaps any non-motion based dart game) is that this triple-variable method can be mastered easily. Although they throw in the odd miss just for realism, it is not hard to line up all three variables and hit the target perfectly every time. Adding to this issue is the fact that there is no time limit or interfering factors. For instance, if you miss hitting the button when the reticule is closest to the center of the dart board, you can just wait for the reticule to come back around. This really lowers the skill level and makes success in this game more a matter of patience rather than practice.
Still, if you don't mind the dart-throwing system (or just love a game with easy success parameters), there is a lot of content in Arcade Darts. There are two main modes you can play through. The career mode sees you choosing from a set of twenty pre-defined avatars and working your way up to the professional dart leagues playing the standard game of darts.
The tournament mode offers a little more flexibility and allows you to run through a short set of opponents playing through any of the six variations of darts included in this game. The included variations are 701, 501, 301, Cricket, Around the Clock and Around the Clock Reverse. These variations involve different scoring methods as well as different point values for the dart board. The different modes add some good variation to the game, but the aforementioned issue with the dart-throwing system makes these extra modes feel stale at best.