Indoor Sports World PS Vita revew: four games for the price of a pint

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Indoor Sports World

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Indoor Sports World isn't bad value for its low-price, with some highlights from its snooker and pool offerings, but two decent games out of four isn't good enough.

We like

  • Decent set of modes and game variations for such a cheap price
  • Looks fairly good with a good variety of back-drops and backing tracks.
  • Snooker and pool are fun to play and there's plenty of challenge to be had from the Arcade and Season modes.

We dislike

  • Some inconsistencies and flaws. Why can we pot two balls immediately from every pool break with little effort?
  • The touchscreen doesn't work well with Darts. Despite using identically movements, the Darts have a mind of their own.
  • Air Hockey is boring and the puck and mallets are so small that your finger takes up most of the screen real-estate.

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

For such a low-priced game, and with what must have been a tight budget, indie developer Super Icon Ltd has done well to offer some visual variety and plenty of gameplay options to get stuck into, particularly the local multiplayer mode, which may possibly be worth the price alone for some competitive folk. In terms of gameplay though, it’s a mixed bag.

In Snooker and Pool, for example, touchscreen controls are erratic. While striking the ball and using your finger to pull back the cue feels intuitive, most of the other touchscreen options feel too fiddly and over-sensitive to bother with. Indeed, lining up shots is far less frustrating if you simply use the d-pad to tweak your shot lines. Nevertheless, Super Icon has done a great job with ball physics and as you'd expect the force in which you hit the ball and its impact on the other balls is just like the real thing.

There’s some decent options for camera angles too, such as the ability to zoom in and out with the bumpers, pan around the ball with the touchscreen or d-pad and switch to an overhead look with the ‘triangle’ button. However, we’d have liked to have had the ability to pan around the entirety of the table so we could plan positioning a little better. Overall, though you don’t have the same depth and level of polish as the likes of Hustle Kings, and despite some flaws (you can easily pot two balls immediately from every pool break) there’s still enjoyment and challenge to be had from trying to beat some tricky A.I. opponents.

Darts, however, is pretty awful. There’s little skill needed to move your finger slowly across the screen and place it in the exact area where you want to throw the dart. Once you’ve placed it exactly over the treble-20, the only thing you need to do to hit it is make a perfect vertical line sweep forwards on the touchscreen to throw it. The problem is it’s so inconsistent. One second we’re scoring three treble 20s and next we’re landing shots closer to the bullseye, despite making exactly the same movements. Consequently, we found the whole experience very frustrating and out of the four games on offer, Darts is not a game we’ll return to any time soon.

Skill doesn't really seem to come into

The most fast-paced game on offer is Air Hockey, though its lack of depth and simplistic gameplay mechanics make it a fairly dull affair. Gameplay simply requires players to move their finger across the touchscreen to control the direction of the mallet, pushing it forward to whack the puck toward the opposition’s goal and making sure you get back to defend your own. It’s fun for a while, and we can see why people may enjoy battling against each other in local multiplayer matches, but its lack of depth and the fact that the tips of your fingers are as big as the actual mallets (thus obscuring your view) means there's little reason to keep playing.

With a Darts game that feels broken and an Air Hockey game that we have little motivation to keep on playing, Indoor Sports World relies heavily on its decent, albeit unspectacular, pool and snooker offerings. Nevertheless, there’s few reasons to recommend this Vita exclusive to anyone but the most casual of gamers, specifically those who haven’t already played some of the better variations of these sports in the past.

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again.
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