Monday 18 June 2007
When you consider 42 All-Time Classics has a darts game in it along with 41 other games all in one cart, Touch Darts had better be the best darts game around if it's going to be woth its asking price. Especially when you see how cheap and cheerful the presentation is. But fortunately, underneath the colourful exterior lies a game that's as challenging and rewarding as real darts - and just as addictive.
The game's greatest asset is its stylus control. You place the tip of your limited edition dart-shaped stylus (or a regular one if you missed out) on the dartboard to start your aim. Pull it back and then sweep forward and release to throw the dart. The game takes into account how far back you started, the speed of your throw and whether you went off to the left or right before your arrow arcs accordingly towards the board in real-time 3D.
The bottom screen is 2D for precise aiming, while the top screen's 3D display is commendably solid, complete with shadowing and action replays of your best throws. Darts can hit the wire and bounce out, and scoring a perfect 180 is challenging but not impossible. The cartoon character mugs aren't very endearing, but you can unlock more and customise your darts with new flights and metals.
Sadly, the sound is dire. What starts off as a friendly piano ditty soon gets into your brain, with its constant loop of cheerful tinkling. You can turn it off, but that only highlights the awful sound clips of coughing or (if you're in the shed) birdsong. The sound of darts hitting board or wire is spot-on though.
While it's obviously not going to win any awards, as an accessible and quick two-player game, it's a sound purchase. It's universal enough for anyone to enjoy and the throwing mechanic will take time to master. That's 'time' as in lots of entertaining five-minute plays - exactly what handhelds are for.