Puma: After Hours Athletes PS3 Review

Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe – Developer – Devil’s Details/VooFoo Studios/Team Ramrod – Genre – Sports – Players – 1-8 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

Before Puma: After Hours Athletes popped through my letterbox, I had no idea what to expect from the game. Upon closer inspection, I found that After Hours Athletes, like Move Mind Benders, is a compilation of games available on PSN, but now with added Puma branding. The package is made up of Top Darts, Hustle Kings, and High Velocity Bowling – all together for the very first time.

The compilation is certainly well presented, with you flipping between a dart board, a pool table and a bowling alley to select the respective sport, and all of the games have 3D support. One thing worth noting is that once you’re in a game, there’s no way to return to the top menu, leaving you with the only option to quit the game and then load it up again. It’s a small complaint, but it is an annoyance all the same, and it should have really been better thought through when they decided to put all the games together.

In a rather savvy move DualShock support has been entirely removed, and the only way to play any of these games is with the Move controller, which certainly could help shift a few more of said controllers. Some who have yet to play these games (perhaps those without PSN accounts), which I’m sure this compilation is aimed at, may not welcome the news that they have to purchase Move in order to play, being that all the games were previously available with controller support.

If you want to play a game of virtual Pool, then Hustle Kings is the one to go for. The shiny balls are fun to hit with the Move controller, pulling it back and pushing it forward as if you are using a cue. Accuracy and power are also a must, with the game taking into consideration how straight you move the controller. As is the norm, there’s various assists which can help you out to pot those balls, and also a helpful tutorial that talks you through all the controls and intricacies. The physics are also very impressive, although the overly skilful AI can get annoying, meaning the game is at its best against another player.

High Velocity Bowling also works very well and just as you’d expect. There’s nothing more simple than rolling a ball down an alley and hoping to take down as many pins as possible. The Move controls are reliable, with an underarm throwing motion to toss the ball and a simple twist of the wrist will add spin. There’s different characters to choose from and balls can even be switched between, adding in some depth. It’s just a shame that the game is so characterless in its looks, particularly as it’s the only one in the package that goes for a cartoonish appearance.

Finally, Top Darts is the only game in the package that originally required Move. There are various rules and mini games to play, and while the controls certainly have a learning curve, tossing the darts with Move is a lot of fun. When doing so, the game takes into consideration the speed and accuracy of your throw, although the higher difficulties waters down the amount of on-screen assistance somewhat. Like High Velocity Bowling, being that it could be quite nasty, remember to not let go of the controller.

Puma: After Hours Athletes is a great, cheaply priced sporting collection, with each of the three games showing Move off well. There’s not a bad game here, and throw in the fact that it also comes complete with all the downloadable content that has been released for the games, and you have a nice little package.