Sony Computer Entertainment’s latest PlayStation Move title, After Hours Athlete, pretty much lived up to my average expectations for it. I’m not necessarily saying that Xdev’s latest pride and joy is a bad game, but it blends into the already overpopulated fitness games market very well. Something I’m sure Puma, who are backing the title, will not be too pleased with.
After Hours Athletes brings you a few activities that will get you sweating (perhaps), there’s High Velocity Bowling, Hustle Kings and Top Darts. As you can most probably tell, High Velocity Bowling is a virtual bowling game, it was actually released on the PlayStation Network store all the way back in December 2007, but without the PlayStation Move compatibility, obviously.
The main mode of High Velocity Bowling is a challenge mode of sorts, it features levels of varying difficulty, ranging from carelessly easy to devilishly difficult. The levels all offer three separate challenges to complete. Challenges will often give you specialized objectives, but none stray far from the standard rules of standard ten pin bowling. After each challenge, content is unlocked which can range from a different change of clothes to a new bowling ball or character. Upon completion of three challenge, you’ll then move onto the next level and set of challenges, normally with an increasing level of difficulty.
High Velocity Bowling, despite not having the best graphics, gives the user a very nice visual experience, mainly down to colorful themes and distinctive and often amusing clothes and scenery. From bowling in a back alley lit completely by car headlights to hitting down pins in a very rundown trailer park, it’s not exactly realistic but it does add some nice elements to the game.
Now let’s move on to Hustle Kings, which is yet another re-release of sorts, with the original released back in January 2010. Hustle Kings bases itself on the popular game of pool, but as you might expect, there’s a few changes added in to spice things up a bit. Obviously, for a game of this type, Hustle Kings doesn’t need to be an adrenalin-filled, over-active game, yes it utilizes the PlayStation Move, but it does still deliver where other titles often fall foul.
Hustle King’s lack of activity and speed won’t really play on your mind when the game’s fun and rather realistic gameplay captures you. Using the PlayStation Move controller as a cue really did grow on me, and after a few minutes of playing, my familiarity with the game’s controls weas superb and I was ready to shoot some balls down some holes.
The game’s use of camera angles is quite interesting, Hustle Kings often switches to different perspectives to give you a more helpful view, this comes especially handy when potting or lining up a crucial shot. Another feature that will help players is the ability to fine tune the angles of shots, which is a distinctive advantage over the regular angling system for players as they can move the cue much less to make it possible to get the exactly angle they want. Hustle Kings offers a very welcome amount of game modes, they range from classic Black Ball pool to Trickshots, Beat the Clock and more.
Last but not least, we have Top Darts, which is… you guessed it, a darts game with PlayStation Move compatibility added for good measure. Despite being technically a very good darts simulator, I haven’t found a game that has been as uninspiring and uninteresting as Top Darts. Yes, the game lets you throw darts at a dartboard, and does it quite well, but it doesn’t do much more than that. The controls only become useable after a few hours of playing as they seem unresponsive and rather clunky until you become used to them.
To sum up, After Hours Athlete is somewhat of a mixed bag. What High Velocity Bowling lacks in flair it makes up in consistent gameplay with a pleasant presentation overall. Hustle Kings follows a similar pattern, with both its gameplay and presentation providing an interesting and entertaining offering. Top Darts, unlike its two sister games, doesn’t deliver, mainly down to its odd controls, steep learning curve and uninteresting gameplay. So overall, After Hours Athlete is worth a punt if you’ve already got a PlayStation Move and are looking for a new title to spice things up over the festive period.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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