December 11, 2011
When you start up this title, you can choose from one of three titles that have previously been released exclusively on the PS3. But because they're all independent games, you'll have to go through some extra loading screens - a bit annoying.
Due to the differing natures of the games, and the fact that some of them didn't initially come with Move support, they all offer quite unique experiences. With darts, you use the motion controller to first line up your throw, but you can also zoom in using the command buttons. Hustle Kings, uses the motion controllers to control your ball's position, direction, and spin. You can even use the arrows displayed to ensure your billiard will hit the next one the exact way you intended it to. Bowling is a bit different though as you’ll have to choose where you need to stand and the direction in which you would like your bowling ball to go in.
Many of the issues with the gameplay deal with how effective the Move controls are. Sometimes with Top Darts you will feel as though you sent your dart straight for the middle but it ends up missing it by a long shot which makes the point of setting up the shot beforehand a bit of over kill. This theme is apparent across the board though as bowling and billiards require a ton of prep to make sure you get a decent shot instead of letting you do some of the work. It definitely doesn’t show off the Move’s capabilities since everything’s pretty much done for you.
With each of the different games, outside of the main focus, there is a whole system of ‘side quests’ to do. For example, with Top Darts there is a whole league mode where you go up against other dart throwing champions. These can be played with friends or in single player mode. As said before, there are also a ton of mini -ames that are actually based off of actual ones played in the bar such as Cutthroat (billiards) and English Cricket (Top Darts). These give After Hour Athletes a more authentic feel and help allow those interested in improving their knowledge about bar games a leg up. But for the average Joe, they definitely need some explanation which sets After Hour Athletes apart from the other mini-game focused titles that you can just pickup and play.
In terms of presenation though, After Hour Athletes suffers a bit from loading issues. There’s no button to switch from Top Darts to Velocity Bowling to Hustle Kings. If you want to change game, you've got to quit and reopen the game again and stomach non-skippable opening screens. This makes it nearly impossible to want to play multiple games in one sitting unless you stick to one of the three. During each of the games, announcers will be on in order to help instruct you a bit, but they tend to be a bit more of a nuisance than anything else.
The leagues and pro tournaments are really what make this game worth coming back to. You can also play with other gamers online. Whether or not this title would be a great one to play at parties depends on how much the party goers know about the games already. You may need to offer a bit of a tutorial to newcomers who aren’t familiar with darts, billiards, or the Move controllers as well.
Overall, After Hours Atheletes is a decent package for those who've never had the chance to experience High Velocity Bowling, Hustle Kings of Top Darts before. If you have, each of them now has Move support anyway. But aside from that, how the package is put together is a bit shoddy and the Move implementation isn't at the top of its game.