Super Icon’s name may be familiar to you, they were the team behind the wonderful Life of Pixel on PS Mobile among other things, and here they are making the jump to the Vita with Indoor Sports World. It’s a compilation of quite a few recreational games, with Pool, Snooker, Darts and Air Hockey present and all grouped together as if you were in a pub; it’s all very casual but this is ultimately what they were aiming for, hence the very affordable price tag. It’s slightly more than the cost of a drink at your local, and even cheaper than a pint if you have PlayStation Plus.
Upon starting the game you are prompted to have your photograph taken – which serves as your in-game avatar – you then have a multitude of options available to you with exhibition matches, an arcade mode and a season mode accompanying multiplayer. The four games themeselves are pretty well presented, Snooker and Pool do not have the overall technical brilliance demonstrated by International Snooker, but at less than half the price is a worthwhile alternative if you were so inclined. Darts works pariculary well once you get used to it, with you touching to aim and then sliding your finger on the screen to affect the flight. Of the four, Air Hockey was the one I liked least; my finger obscured the puck too much for my liking – and I don’t have particulary large digits – and I found it difficult to effectively aim accurately, but it still plays competently enough.
There are many different game types available to you withing the sports, with Snooker giving you either 6 or 15 red ball variations and many different rule combinations for Pool. Darts offers the largest selection of rules with 301, 501 and 701 accompanied by around the clock and cricket. Of the two competetive modes in the game, Arcade has your touring local establishments facing off in differing game types of increasing difficulty. I started off with Air Hockey but as I progressed I encountered more difficult opposition which removed the visual aids from my Snooker match which in turn really affected my ability to play the game. I appreciate that this may be down to me, but if I cannot even see where I am aiming in pool or snooker, what is the point in me playing? Super Icon have noted this, and are working on a patch. Thankfully Season is much more user friendly and features a knockout stle tournament of four rounds standing between you becoming the champion. With many differnt competions to play through it will give you a decent challenge to plough through, and last a while.
The touch screen controls work pretty well in all modes, Snooker and Pool utilise strokes on the screen to execute the cue action, Darts affecting your aiming and the use of the puck in Air Hockey, although dual controls would have been appreciated in the latter. The game also does a decent job with the environments that you play in, although the scenery looks empty without any “spectators” present and it would have added to the atmosphere in the game had there been any sort of applause or commotion to go with that. It doesn’t detract from the game, but would have been nice, especially when the locations are so pretty.
It’s a decent start to Vita life for Super Icon. The title is very simple, yet effective and affordable, although it really would have benefited from an online multiplayer mode. For the price you really cannot complain with what is on offer here, the issues with the arcade mode have been noted and Super Icon are looking into restoring the visual aids and seeing what they can do with obscuring the puck in Air Hockey. Even if you only like one of the four games here, you’d spend more money in your local or the arcade playing a few matches so it is worth a look.