Hustle Kings Vita preview – authentic billiards without the bar

Hustle Kings for Vita is about as pure billiards as it can get – it’s all about hitting balls into other balls and then into some holes. Everything about it is designed to give the authentic pool experience without having to navigate around some drunk dude at the nearest bar.

That said, there’s nothing simple about Hustle Kings. It features a whole slew of modes, running the gamut of pool games. Bored of traditional 8-ball? How about some cutthroat? Or is 3-ball more up your alley? It’s even got some trick shot challenges if that’s more your speed.

Playing and winning games earns you “Hustle Points” that can be spent on a variety of cosmetic changes to your table. New balls, tables, rooms, and avatar options can be purchased from the store for maximum customization. Or, if you prefer to have your pretty mug all over the place, you can use the Vita’s camera to snap shots and lay them over your avatar, or even spray them onto the table.

But what good is having all that in-game money if you can’t, well, hustle some folks? Multiplayer allows for betting against your friends. Sure, it may not be real cash, but imagine the bragging rights when they can’t purchase those chrome balls they’ve had their eyes on after you run the table immediately after the break.

If the name Hustle Kings sounds familiar, it’s because it came out on PSN last year. In a wonderful move, the Vita version introduces cross-platform play. On top of that, it allows asynchronous online play ,so instead of having to sit around and play out a whole game at once, you and your friends can each take your turns whenever you have a free moment. Go ahead, take your shot and turn off your Vita. Your buddy will take theirs as soon as they’re ready. No big deal, man.

Really, that’s what pool is all about. It’s a leisure sport, and Hustle Kings is all about making it as leisurely as possible. Play a couple turns on the bus, in bed, or on the toilet. It’ll take care of the rest. Don’t worry about it. Just remember to call your shots.

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