Published by Sony Computer
Developed by SCEA San Diego Studios, VooFoo Studios, Devil's Details Ltd.
After Hours Athletes is a compilation of three PlayStation Move controller games that are currently available as download titles on the PlayStation Network. The titles on offer in this compilation are Hustle Kings, High Velocity Bowling and Top Darts. The very idea of a compilation that includes pool, tenpin bowling and darts will certainly seem appealing to most and the asking price is certainly friendly (at the time of writing it can be bought for less than £13 online) but the quality of the three titles varies quite a bit which makes After Hours Athletes less desirable than it should be.
Let's start with High Velocity Bowling. Having enjoyed the bowling game that was part of Wii Sports and having also enjoyed my brief encounter with the bowling in Kinect Sports, I had high hopes of liking High Velocity Bowling. The game offers online and offline multiplayer action in addition to single-player gaming which includes trick shots and a challenge mode too, where you can unlock characters, balls and clothes. In terms of content you're getting a good deal but there are some problems here with how the game plays. Aiming, spinning and the bowling action itself feels adequate but the game doesn't seem capable of interpreting a fast bowl correctly and would often call a foul, forcing you to bowl again. It's a decent experience provided you can live with bowling at a pace slow enough for the game to accurately read your movements.
Hustle Kings is a pool game that allows you to use the Move controller as a virtual pool cue. The modes on offer here ensure you'll certainly get your money's worth provided you can get to grips with the control scheme. Online and offline multiplayer has been included and single players can engage in a career mode after they've played through the game's tutorials. On the whole the game is fairly enjoyable, although I didn't find the controls to be as precise as they could have been. Getting the power of your shots right, even with the aid of a power meter, isn't the easiest of things. I didn't find the game to be as enjoyable as the now ancient Virtual Pool games that Interplay used to publish for the PC, but it's certainly enjoyable and pool fans will appreciate what the game has to offer.
I wasn't expecting too much from Top Darts. Having played darts games for the Wii where you have to hold the controller as if it were a dart and having realised how uncomfortable it can be, I didn't think Top Darts would be any better. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The more rounded shape of the Move controller makes it easier to hold in the dart throwing position and the game does a good job of making the control system easy to get to grips with. I would argue that aiming is considerably easier here than when playing the real game however but the challenging AI players help to ensure the single-player experience is a challenging one. There are plenty of game modes on offer ranging from exhibition games to leagues, cups and a single-player challenge mode. There are various venues to play at and some bizarrely-themed dart boards to play on. The game's tutorials also help to introduce people to the game of darts, explaining all of the basics in a non-tedious fashion. On the whole this is the best game in the package although the lack of an online multiplayer mode, you can play offline multiplayer games however, may be seen as a problem for some.
From a presentation point of view all three games are pretty solid. Each game is a separate entity however and there's no way you can switch between them without quitting the game and reloading it. Graphically the games look as good as you would expect them to look on a current generation console and there's even support for 3D visuals here too, if you have an appropriate TV set. All three games have tutorial information in text. All three display all of their important information visually too. Only Top Darts offers subtitles however and with them enabled you'll even have subtitles for the darts commentary, which is excellent. The comments made by the players in High Velocity Bowling are not subtitled however. Thankfully none of the content that isn't subtitled is of any real importance.
Whether After Hours Athletes is a good deal for you depends on how many of the included games you are interested in. Should you simply be interested in one of the games then it may be a better option to simply purchase the game by itself directly from the PlayStation Network store. The quality of the games varies quite a bit. I would argue that Top Darts is the pick of the compilation but neither of the three are impressive. That said, if you are interested in two or all three of the games, this package represents a good saving on purchasing all three games separately.