Occasionally here at Player2.net.au, we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for a blockbusting amount of time (2 – 5 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Hustle Kings VR
Well, I’ll give the development team at VooFoo Studios some credit, the VR expansion to Hustle Kings would have been a relatively inexpensive and straightforward one to develop! Hustle Kings is a 2009 game that was initially released on the PS3 and Vita. It was one which featured online competitive play, a career mode and a lot of empty bars with nobody in them except for you and your opponent who were playing Billiards… how did these places stay in business?! PlayStation Move support was added over time, and by March of 2015 Hustle Kings had moved across to the PS4 as a free-to-play game, and now, the better part of 18 months since that release, we get Hustle Kings VR.
Hustle Kings VR is literally the same experience as Hustle Kings, now with added VR support. With this VR support you, as the player, have the ability to walk around the Billiards table (until you lose range with the PlayStation Camera) and by squatting or standing tall, you can get a better look at the ball that you’re about to shoot. Taking this little feature out, something that could be easily mapped to some analogue sticks, and you’ve got the identical experience to one that is now seven years old, with the same problems that every Billiards game has.
What breaks most Billiards video games is the fact that as you line up a shot the game displays you a little indicator to show where your ball is going, and (depending on how close you are), where the ball you hit is headed. This takes all the challenge out the game and I found on a few occasions games where I would be wiped off the table without having actually had a shot – all this because there are too many advantages given to the person shooting that makes it near impossible to miss one of the tables six holes. There were of course, times where I too was the beneficiary of this, but it just meant that a crushing victory wasn’t at all satisfying. It’s hard for either player to just sit there and watch as their opponent smokes shot after shot, but when they’re given an added advantage, as they get in Hustle Kings, then what purpose is there in even logging on?
For those who do enjoy the experience, you’ll not find it hard to connect to a game, there are a few people playing in each mode at each level itching for a game. You can place bets on other player’s games if you so choose, but there’s little incentive to do so.
If you thought that re-releasing an already 5+ year billiards game was a little unusual, then consider it an especially audacious attempt by VooFoo Studios to lever a few more dollars out of you with the promise of VR support. In terms of replicating the experience that is playing a game of Billiards, the VR support is of great benefit, I loved the ability to walk around the table, identifying where the ball might go, or what cushions I may need to hit to pull off a sensational shot. This added layer of immersion, while great, only masks flawed game design – one which can be easily exploited and ensures the enjoyment of playing real-life billiards cannot be experienced in the gaming space.