Since I had an inkling that Santa was going to bring me a shiny new 3DS for Christmas I decided to borrow a few old Nintendo DS games from my Dad to keep me going until it arrived. One of the games I borrowed was Touch Darts, as I am a bit of a darts fan.
Touch Darts was released in 2007 by Sega, and is not affiliated with any darts federation so none of the characters are actual darts stars. The characters are like a throwback to the 80's, big burly blokes and not too attractive women, all with cheesy nicknames. However, there is a commentator, Jossy whose comments scroll across the bottom of the screen. He is definitely modelled on PDC commentator Sid Waddell both in appearance and the gibberish style comments he makes.
When you start playing touch darts you can either get playing a quick game of darts straight away with Quick Start or you can set up your own file which gives you access to the career mode and challenges. When you first start a file you need to Name your character, pick a cheesy nickname, choose your face and then your darts. The first time you play you get limited access to faces and darts styles but you unlock more as the games goes on - although I find that quite amusing as why would you want to change your face half way through the game!!
The career mode runs through 4 levels from Novice to Pro, starting off playing in your bedroom before moving to more glamorous locations like Las Vegas. You start off playing 301 darts with 2 legs, moving to 501 adding sets so the game gets longer as you progress. You throw the dart by dragging the stylus back and sliding it forward again. For the first two levels you get a guide to show you how far to slide the stylus back, but for the later two levels you have to fly solo! The game starts off pretty easy with you r opponent barely able to hit the board, but by the time you get to Pro your opponent will hardly ever miss the treble or finishers. Although I think I am pretty good at the game, I have not managed yet to complete the career mode.
The challenge game is a collection of darts mini games including Simon Says - where you follow the pattern set by your opponent, 1001 - a longer version of 501 but with limited darts and time, speed darts - where you have to throw a certain amount of darts at the board in a short amount of time, and my personal favourite Round the clock - where you have to hit the numbers from 1 to bulls eye in order getting to skip numbers if you hit a double or treble. These are spread across 5 levels of difficulty, and like the main game get progressively harder as the game goes on. It is ridiculously hard once you get to level 5, but after a few sessions of pulling my hair out I have managed to complete all the challenges!
There is also a multiplayer version of the game but I have not tried it!
I really enjoyed Touch Darts - the game was really well suited to the touch screen nature of the Nintendo DS, and the graphics are quite realistic which actually surprised me! One of the downsides of the game is the tinny music and the limited groans and shouts from the crowd - however I tend to play with the sound down it wasn't a major issue. I would definitely recommend this game regardless of if you are a darts fan or not - If you can borrow it like me then so much the better, but I have seen it in the Play.com sale for just over a fiver, which is worth the money in my opinion. It is an easy game to pick up when you have five minutes, and doesn't require too much brain power so is just my type of game!! I just wish I could get past 93% completion........
The back of the box states "Get in to the crazy and wonderful world of touch darts" and whilst very stereotypical and not very "PC" I instantly thought of the game played by podgy, beer swilling, middle aged working class men in their local (and hazy prior to the smoking ban) social club.
Obviously, this is incorrect and darts is a sport of people of all ages - just look at the young Dutch players appearing on the world stage at the Lakeside last year (the names of who escapes me).
As its name suggests this game is produced by Sega and is, according to the box, designed for players aged 3+. After spending many happy hours on this game, and passing it to my 5 year old nephew (my co reviewer on most games) for his comments (for what they're worth) I have come to the conclusion that there is no way younger players would enjoy this game. The controls are just too sensitive and difficult (as I shall describe later on in this review).
Starting at 301 or 501 (depending upon the level, location and opponent) you have to throw darts to reduce the score to zero, finishing on the bulls eye or a double.
As the player, your opponents are all computer operated with ridiculously stupid names and you play on a variety of dart boards (ranging from the "traditional" Winmau style to an electronic blue coloured board) in a variety of locations from the bedroom, the shed, the pub, Holland, etc.
As you beat your opponent your world ranking comes down and additional features are unlocked such as trophies, faces and dart flights. The change in faces and dart flights allows you to personalise your character as you progress through the game.
The trophies sit in a cabinet and can only be viewed.
Basically you start at amateur and play a variety of characters in a variety of locations moving through the ranks to Pro.
Once you have reached pro that's it, although reaching this high standard is going to take some time and if, like me, you're not dedicated enough or get bored once you can't get beyond a certain point then you're not going to complete the game.
Challenge mode is a variety of darts based skills challenges such as pairs, score challenge, check out and around the clock.
The difficulty levels gradually increase from ridiculously easy (and boring) in earlier game to really hard challenges (such as around the clock in trebles and doubles) in later levels.
I have got to the stage where the challenges are too tough and I have not bothered attempting them for a while, and, in all honesty I won't bother in the future.
Touch darts uses the touch screen to its full potential. Darts are thrown by aiming at the number you want by touching it, pulling the stylus back and then pushing it forwards and lifting it off the screen. The speed and angle of this motion determines the accuracy so this has to be done in a smooth and fluid motion otherwise the dart will not be released.
Too hard and the dart will hit the board (or surrounding background if thrown really hard!). Too soft and the dart will fall below the mark.
There is a small power bar displayed on the screen but looking at this and the dartboard at the same time is impossible so it is next to useless.
Learning the motion takes time and practice. Trying to get the power right is trial and error and it is almost impossible to use the power meter.
As with most NDS games the music is awful. The sound effects are limited and repetitive and include coughing, clapping and cheering once the double has been hit and the leg is over and yelling of "so close" if you miss the double you're after to finish the leg/set.
I found these sound effects really annoying after a while and turned them off.
I think the producers missed a trick here - The Bulls Eye theme tune (for those of you old enough to remember it) playing in the background would be sooo much better (although I suppose that Bulls Eye was not even aired abroad so I expect that there would be no relevance to our foreign friends.
That said, I think that the Bulls Eye tune would become tiresome and quite annoying after a while in any case.
The graphics are very good. Everything is clear, colourful and non - distorted etc, although this is to be expected due to the simplicity of the game!
The multi player function of this game is very, very poor. Whilst you can challenge your friends it is not possible to do this via Wifi, therefore, the NDS has to keep being passed between the players.
Whilst this does not sound too bad, consider that it only takes around 10 secs to throw 3 darts and you can now start to imagine how many times the NDS will be passed back and forth in half an hour!
Why Sega did not make it Wifi compatible is beyond me and, in my humble opinion, I think that they have missed a trick since it would be great to challenge not only your friends but online players to a game of arrows. I think this would have increased the longetivity of the game no end.
I found Touch darts very addictive once first played (although the controls are difficult to get used to in the first instance). The potential life for this game is several weeks.
This game is easy to play but difficult to master. It's annoying that the power meter can't be read when actually trying to throw the dart since the first throw can be spot on and the next could go wildly astray - consequently ruining the whole set.
The graphics are excellent (which they should be) but the music and sound effects are pretty dire. I have yet to find an NDS game with good sound effects.
The poor multi player option, and the fact that you can't challenge via Wifi, is a major minus point for this game.
Although the box states from age 3, there is no way a young child could enjoy this game.
I would recommend Touch darts but look for it in a bargain bin, second hand or try and nick it off a mate for a few weeks.
I have got to say that I am totally addicted to this game at the moment. I don't play many DS games as I get bored easily, I play brain training as thats quite good for you and wakes up your brain. But touch darts is all about competition.
Basically you start out as a complete novice and go up through the ranks beating different players until you become a pro. Its quite easy to start with once you get the hang of it. You start beating all these players as you get treble 20's and the other players are getting 1's and 3's, but then as you progress, the darts players you play against can all hit the double top when needed or the treble twenty and you realise that you've got to be on top of you're game at all times with maximum concentration.
its quite addicitve, I often set up multi player so my husband can try and beat me, he never does but he's always up for trying.
The graphics are quite good, its colouful and looks like you're really playing at the different locations. The board changes depending on where you are playing too. Sound effects are good too with the feel that you're in a pub full of spectators.
I only really like the sport games and this one is up there with the best of them, I would recommend to all.
With a fresh and unique style, Sega Presents: Touch Darts allows you to progress from local pub legend to World Champion, or take on your friends in versus mode.