|System: PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: VooFoo Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 28, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-16||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Hustle rooms are virtual pool halls wherein the room creator has chosen a set amount of HKC to bet per match. If you want into the room, you'll have to agree to the terms. You might not be betting real cash in Hustle Kings, but the stakes can still get pretty high.
There are two issues I have with the online component - one minor, the other not quite so minor. First off, you'll have to agree to a long and finely printed disclaimer each and every time you log onto the network to play. It's not a huge deal, but it is annoying all the same.
My real problem with online multiplayer, however, has to do with the game's downloadable content. Though you're given a basic cube of chalk to help improve the general accuracy of your shots, the game allows for players to purchase additional chalks for real money. These premium cubes give players a leg up in terms of accuracy and table sight, and it just seems like the wrong kind of incentive related to selling extra content. It's debatable just how much of an edge the "uber" chalks offer, but any advantage is too much, really. Everyone who paid the full price for the game should be able to compete on a level playing field.
In terms of production values, Hustle Kings is quite a lovely game, more than what you'd expect out of a downloadable title, especially one that takes up so little space on your hard drive. The selection of tables is stylish and well-rendered, and the pool halls fit the bill perfectly. Some elements of the cityscapes you'll see off in the background lack detail, but overall you're getting a pretty package here. The menus are attractive and easy to navigate, though the text is printed unusually small.
The music is fairly generic, yet it works quite well within the context of the gameplay. There are five main music styles, and if you find one to be distracting or simply don't care for it, you can turn any of the styles off in the options menu. Of course, you can take it one step further by exiting out to the XrossMediaBar and turning on your own tunes to be played in-game. The sound effects and controller feedback are nice additions as well, offering subtle enhancements to the gameplay.
Hustle Kings is a pretty impressive game of pool. There are loads of options, more than I would have ever expected from a $10 game, and the mechanics are pretty much spot-on. The button sensitivity for fine-tuning shots could use some improvement, but otherwise the game is butter. The online component is excellent and, so far, running without a hitch. Billiards is low impact and more methodical than what many current gamers might be used to, but if you're looking for a serious game of pool, look no further than Hustle Kings.
CCC Freelance Writer