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Hustle Kings (PlayStation 3) artwork

Hustle Kings (PlayStation 3) review


"Out of all sports-games, I think virtual pool has always been the most pointless to me. You can't train for pocket-shots virtually, and typically the most appealing fantasy in these games has been to advance in a virtual snooker-league. "



Out of all sports-games, I think virtual pool has always been the most pointless to me. You can't train for pocket-shots virtually, and typically the most appealing fantasy in these games has been to advance in a virtual snooker-league.

Playing friends would be difficult as well in pool-games. If hotseat multiplayer was included, the rules were made in such a way that spending more time on a shot usually means being more accurate. Meaning infinite turns, in a predictable game. Or else the physics end up feeling completely unpredictable and difficult to control.

Obviously better to take a walk to the local pool-hall and play a few games.

So it wasn't with much anticipation that I downloaded Hustle Kings off the PSN. Even when it turns out that the game is technically brilliant, with very convincing board physics. And has a control scheme that is restrictive enough to simulate a reasonably agile player moving around the table. But which is helpful enough to let you quickly make the shots, without also automatically guide the balls to the pockets for you. And even when all the things that were wrong about earlier pool-games suddenly were improved almost to perfection - from the cue-movement during a shot, to the aiming phase before it - it all seemed as pointless as before.

But then I suddenly understood the point with Hustle Kings. It's not a pool-simulation, it is a pool-hall simulation. Where you can make virtual bets with your friends, and play with other human opponents. And all the care with the implementation of different rule-sets, cue-control, and assist settings suddenly come into play.

In fact, it turns out the multiplayer part of the game, either local or online, is very good. Local games can be set up on the same controller, or another. You can also load a profile stored on the same ps3, and that profile will receive any Hustle-Kings Credits earned during a game. Online is similar, and also accepts wagers between the players, if you wish. Finally, customise the game with the sight-lines you want, the game type, and any time-limits. Until your game will fit anything from a friendly set to a competitive game. The game also features the lesser known modes where you can include more than two players at the same time. Voice-chat also works nicely if you have a headset.

If you are looking for a simulation game where you can fulfill your desires as an athletic champion, this game is not for you. Hustle Kings is a social game - except the presentation is slick, the customisable rules are helpful instead of difficult to understand - and the game is suddenly not entirely pointless after all.

Virtual Pool (and Snooker). What's the point? I mean, really, what in the world is the point? The developer of Hustle Kings takes a stab at answering that question with this game.

Rating: 8/10

fleinn's avatar
Community review by fleinn (August 10, 2010)

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