Darts games never really worked until the advent of motion controls and touch screens. Tossing tungsten just never quite felt right with an analogue stick and buttons. Developers tried everything, from wobbly hands to ripping off Hot Shots Golf’s three-click aiming system, but nothing ever really replicated the actual act of playing arrows until SEGA’s Touch Darts on the Nintendo DS.
Developer Devil’s Details has clearly spent a good amount of time dissecting SEGA’s DS game, because Top Darts plays very similarly. In essence it’s an upgraded version of last year's Top Darts on PlayStation Move, but it feels significantly more intuitive on PS Vita.
Tracing your finger around the screen locks your arrow in place, while pulling the dart back and thrusting it forwards allows you to toss the projectile at the board. Both the speed and straightness of your motion will affect the accuracy of the throw, adding an authentic challenge to the experience without resulting in contrived mechanics.
New features utilise the PlayStation Vita’s unique specifications. For example, you can use the device’s tilt mechanics to look around the board, or leverage the cameras to create custom dartboards. Ever wanted to throw darts at Jonathan Ross? Now you can.
As with its PlayStation 3 counterpart, Top Darts looks absolutely stunning, with each of the outdoor locations now boasting day/night cycles to add to the authenticity. Similarly, the original’s arcade mini-games have been given a science fiction make-over. It’s not exactly the most expected of alterations, but the newly lit neon boards sure look great on the PlayStation Vita’s OLED screen.
Top Darts is unlikely to headline many potential PlayStation Vita purchasers’ wishlists, but as an affordable downloadable it’ll certainly make for a nice diversion from Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Wipeout 2048. The quick play nature of darts is delightfully suited to portable play, and the touch screen controls make perfect sense.