Sunday, 26 February 2012

PSVita Review Double: Motorstorm RC & Hustle Kings

Both of todays titles are launch titles for the Vita's PSN lineup and like the retail launch titles these are pretty good quality for download titles.

MotorStorm RC

First up Motorstorm RC developed by UK developer Evolution Studios.  The game plays like a top down racing game similar to older racing titles from the arcades, or Sega Megadrive.  The RC in the title stands for Radio Controlled and so the entire car lineup is micro versions of those seen throughout the motorstorm franchise.  The game see's you earning medals for races, time trials, overtaking challenges and more to unlock new cars, liveries and sections of the hub location.  The hub is designed to look like a park area, complete with jumps, football and other stunt activities.

The game controls via the use of the both analog sticks, with the left being used to turn the vehicles, the right acting as accelerate and brake/reverse.  I found it took a little practice to get used to this, but once you do its really simple and easy to use control scheme.  Different vehicles also act differently such as being able to drift like the rally cars, skid around like dune buggy's or simply hug the ground and turn well like racing trucks, each has a different style of play.

The events themselves are set across the four terrain types seen in Motorstorm, Arctic edge, Pacific Rift and Apocalypse.  All of them are pretty detailed and look like part of the tracks seen in the main games but shrunk down.  They all take less than a minute or so to complete, but for gaming on the go this is fine and means you can quickly get back into a replay of the same event, or try something different quickly. 

Graphically its not terrible, but a little ugly close up, again though for a downloadable title that see's plenty of cars, level variety and run's very smoothly this is fine, since you look for good quality graphics from the £30 - £40 titles and not from a game that cost £4.79.

The music in game is great and fits the Motorstorm look and feel and the little cars engines sound great, along with squealing tires and crashes as you hit your opponents.

My only gripe with the game is the inital load time is horrendous, taking a couple of minutes to load up so play it on long journeys or when you know you have enough free time.

Overall I really like this game as a quick play title (past the initial load times) with plenty of replayability and a good price for what you get, and even better is the fact that you can download it again for free on your PS3 and play it there also.

Score 7.9/10

Hustle Kings

The second title I downloaded from the PSN was Hustle Kings a micro version of its sibling on home consoles with touch screen functions.

Now I don't really play Pool games, but this one looked like the perfect game for the handheld.  It didn't need any urgency to play, looked good and allowed me to play it at my pace, a good thing for a handheld game.  This title was more expensive than Motorstorm RC at £6.79 so may put off potential buyers.

Basically the game has you picking an avatar, learning the basics and then hitting the pool hall scene to earn HKC or Hustle King Currency.  There is every type of pool game available to play with a mix of trick shot challenges and table clearing challeges sprinkled in to keep you on your toes.

Players can play exhibition for quick matches, go into the career mode to earn HKC and unlock avatars, play online to bet their hard earned HKC or play the challenge levels.  You can use the HKC to unlock new avatars, ball sets, cues and pool tables. 

Control wise Hustle Kings lets you use the analog sticks to aim your shots and strike, but the touch controls are pretty good, and work just as well as the standard button controls.  You can use the screen to aim your shot and then adjust your power, chalk the cue, add spin, and finally shoot.  Shooting can be done with either a simple drag and release shot mode where the further you hold down the cue the more power in the shot, or you can use a shot mode that allows you to drag and push and the cue for the amount of power you want.  Both work really well and is a great game to showcase the vita's screen controls.

Graphically the game looks nice, but that should be expected when you are looking at disembodied pool cues and colourful balls.  The physics are good and the lighting is decent, overall it looks pretty.

The sound for the game game is good, with the gameplay sounds being genuine as balls clatter, and pot etc. where the sound does kind of fall flat is the music which is pretty hit and miss.  Probably better to turn it off or simply run your own music in the background.

Overall is like this alot, it has plenty of gameplay, lots of hours needed to complete and looks great.

Score 8.2/10

Just a word on my scoring system.  Now when I give a game a 7 or 8 I am saying this game is good and if you buy it you won't be let down.  If I give a game a 5 or 6 then Its still fun but could have been better in my opinion.  If I give a game a 9 then it has truly blown me away with its content and overall gameplay.  So I will not be throwing out 9's and 10's for games like Modern warfare, Assassin's creed and the like simply because they had a good game once and now its become a stale repetition each year, no.  If it deserves a 9 then it will get one, if not then it will get a fair review from me.


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