Break out the Pool cues, things could get nasty…
Hustle Kings is available on the PSN for the PS3. Developed by VooFoo Studios and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, Hustle Kings is a Pool simulation game.
The player begins by choosing a character that will represent him during the game, and then work through a tutorial that will teach the basics of the game. With any game of this type, the control method is what can make or break it. Hustle Kings has tried something different here, by allowing the player to draw back the cue and strike it forward using the left stick, not too dissimilar to Tiger Woods PGA in recent years. However, for those that prefer something more traditional, there is the usual timing based button pressing method.
The player can choose the strength of the shot, the direction and where to hit the ball, in order to achieve spin or make the ball jump. Trickshots are, therefore, possible with a little practice. It is also possible to change the players view of the table, to ensure that the shot is lined up correctly.
The game features a collection of nice background music tracks that can be customised to the players preference. The sound effects are fairly basic, but do the job. The lack of audio encouragement is a shame, as a bit of cheering or gasps after narrowly missing a shot would have certainly built up the atmosphere.
During the game, the player will be able to earn cash from playing. This money can then be used in the store to purchase items that can improve the players game, such as different cues and chalks, or items that just customise the game more to the players taste, such as new in game characters.
The main draw of this game, over others of the same type, are the visuals. This game is very well finished and looks gorgeous. From the various Pool halls which serve as backdrops, the beautifully textured tables and even the shine that can be seen on the balls, it is evident that this is a highly polished game.
There are a selection of different game types to play with in single player, or there is the online multiplayer mode. Taking the game online is a great way to improve your skills against real players, but the lack of interaction between players makes the online mode feel very similar to playing it single player. At times it is easy to forget that you are playing a real person.
At the end of the day, the game is a Pool simulator, and there is only so much that can be done with that. Using the left stick to hit the ball was, I found, a bit haphazard and lacking the precision of the other method. Some crowd noises would have been nice and a more sociable online mode is needed. Other than that, it does what it says on the tin.
If you have been looking for a Pool game on the PS3, then this is the one for you. Despite a couple of minor faults, this game is a delight on the ears and eyes and plays like a dream.