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Dart Rage - WiiWare Review

Game Info
Dart Rage

WiiWare | JV Games Inc. | 1 Player / 2-4 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now (North America) | 600 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
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5th April 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

Want to play darts in the comfort of your living room without the hassling of having to set it up? If so, Dart Rage may be just what you've been waiting for. Not too many months ago, Big Blue Bubble released Pub Darts, a decent darts simulator that really only went for the basics in terms of content. For only $1 more, Dart Rage feels like a much better package, and ultimately offers more bang for your buck.

    Dart Rage contains a total of 4 different modes whereby players can engage in some dart-throwing action. The mode selection includes classic dart games such as 301, 701 and American (Baseball), along with more advanced games such as Cricket and Poker. Some of the different methods of playing even feature their own special dartboard, and it's great that the developers took that extra step to add that in. You can play with anywhere from 2 to 4 players in tandem under the 'Normal' setting. You can also opt to battle against CPU opponents, set to one of three difficulty levels: Easy, Medium or Hard. If you desire to have a split-screen experience, 'VS' mode will allow you and someone else to face off at the same time for more tensity. If you're ever unsure on how to play a game, you can always bring up the Pause Menu to read a summary of the rules.

    The game takes place in one of three different venues: Pub, Lodge and Lounge. You can also toggle commentary and music on and off, and you can even opt for a 'Double In/Out' ruling, if you feel so inclined. It's nice to see that Dart Rage includes a nice amount of options to toy with so players can have a more personalized gameplay experience. Prior to actually starting the game, there's a relatively small selection of different dart patterns to choose from, which are only meant for show. Dart Rage may not have as many flights as Pub Darts, but it's the gameplay that really determines whether or not the developers have been successful with this release.

    Most dart games on the Wii have approached a button-lock style of play, but Dart Rage gives players the opportunity to try a new, more realistic control scheme. Rather than relying on holding buttons to lock your position, Dart Rage uses a unique auto-lock, power-sensing system. After a simple thrust of the Wii Remote, the innovative reticule will take the power of your throw and your angle into consideration as the follow-through is displayed for you on-screen. The system is really sensitive to the kinds of motions you make - throw upwards, or apply with a lot of force, and the flight pattern of the dart will replicate those same actions. Opting to use a control scheme like this can be very risky to develop since there's room for sloppiness to creep in. Thankfully, controls work brilliantly, with an impressive amount of accuracy.

    The competitive drive that exists in the game is further emphasized by the dialog that takes place as you play. The side commentary makes the action that much more engaging. Not only have the developers incorporated terminology belonging to the popular sport, but there are some funny dialog lines thrown in for good measure as well. The announcer's vocals are complemented by a hard-rock soundtrack. The songs in the game go well with the "rage" aspect and although not everyone will appreciate this style of music, it is what it is. Either way, it's a nice change of pace after playing Pub Darts, which had no music during gameplay whatsoever, which made it less memorable. The overall style harks back to past projects by the developers: not very sleek but they're good enough to get by. And if anything, the lack of extensive polish ties in with the rough aspect to this game.

    In what ways could Dart Rage have been improved? Well for one, the game's sense of creating a personalized/party experience is adequate, but still could have improved simply by looking at Pub Darts. Big Blue Bubble's darts simulator allowed players to assign their name and a character to a handful of profiles, so it's a shame that this wasn't incorporated here. It would have been nice if players also had more to strive for as a secondary objective. Perhaps by having an overall rankings table of most wins/losses for bragging rights, or even having a series of achievements. Some may also be surprised to find that there's no mode for co-operative play. A tag-team-style of gameplay would have been a nice addition for those that enjoy 2-on-2 matches. Although JV Games likely wanted to go for a more pick-up-and-play approach, implementing these kinds of features would have gone a long way in rewarding players who come back repeatedly.

    Even with some minor flaws, Dart Rage is clearly superior to Pub Darts, and it's a great buy for only $6. The control scheme is unique, user-friendly, and, most importantly, it's really accurate. The multiplayer is sure to be good fun, and the split-screen VS mode is an excellent change for those desiring more hectic games of darts. The action is really satisfying and all things considered, it's a well-rounded package that's worth your time if you're a fan of the sport.

24/30 - Very Good

Gameplay 9/10 - Impressive amount of accuracy and realism, innovative controls, no button presses needed, good sense of customization
Presentation 7/10 - Decent visuals, "rage" aspect is emphasized by the hard-rock tunes, announcer makes things more engaging
Enjoyment 4/5 - Those who love playing Darts will enjoy this game, some fun in facing the CPU's, split-screen VS mode for more tensity
Extra Content 4/5 - Total of four main games to play, no rankings or profiles, great value for only 600 Points

Equivalent to a score of 80% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Dart Rage
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Review by KnucklesSonic8

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