Format: iPad (reviewed), iPhone (reviewed) (version 1.0.2)
Darts isn’t exactly a sport that you’d think would need a virtual representation. The equipment is inexpensive, not a lot of space is required and there is a dart board in a large number of Britain’s public houses.
Many scoff at the suggestion that darts is a sport at all, ignoring the fact that it requires great accuracy, consistency and composure to play. You will need these same qualities to be successful at Darts Night, which does well to harness both the simplicity and nuances of the sport.
Darts is easy to pick up, but difficult to master and the same is true here. Arrows are thrown by dragging your finger forward on the screen to where you want them to land, with power dictated by the ferocity of your swipes.
Let’s Play Darts
Aiming is easier on the iPad than the iPhone but eventually you will discover a method that works for you and throwing darts becomes instinctive rather than haphazard. The mechanic is simple but works effectively.
There are only three ways of playing – 501, 301 and around the clock – with other games strangely omitted. Single player mode comprises exhibition matches, tournaments and challenges but once you have mastered the toughest players, there isn’t a lot of depth.
Multiplayer is where the game is at its best, with an array of single device, local and online two-player options to choose from. Just like most games, the element of human error and the consistency required makes each match unique.
Darts Night has a cartoonish pub theme and the visuals are pretty basic, but then again, how fancy do you need to make a dart board? It’s the HUD where the game lets itself down. As a free app, Darts Night is supported by advertising, but on the iPhone version, these can actually obscure your score, making it difficult to see what darts you need to check out.
Sound is a little better, with darts making a satisfying ‘thud’, but listening to your own music is awkward. Opening the app immediately stops the track playing and you must restart the song by double-tapping the home button. This is an issue of app design and shouldn’t be happening in 2013.
But as a free app, you can’t really go wrong with Darts Night, and its easy to forgive its technical issues and a lack of content when the gameplay is so strong. With a bit of work, Darts Night could be one of the best free sports games on iOS.