Hands on with Phil Taylor's Power Darts '09 on mobile

Darting to a mobile near you

Hands on with Phil Taylor's Power Darts '09 on mobile

You can't accuse the darts world of lacking character. Watch some of the contests on TV and you'll be treated to many a hairy behemoth wearing shimmering capes and displaying personalities with the magnitude of those in the WWF. What you can accuse darts of lacking is presentation, as each contest is held in a dimly lit pub or dreary men's club.

Thankfully, though, Player One has been addressing this problem with its Phil Taylor's Power Darts series. Having successfully added a quirky graphical style to its predecessor Phil Taylor's Power Darts '08, the '09 edition is hoping to go one better by adding sharper, more cartoon based graphics.

The gameplay is largely unaltered from previous versions. Pressing '5' when you've decided where to throw your dart will bring up two circles whilst a third pulsates between them. Pressing '5' to match this with the inner circle gets you a perfect shot, but you have to be quick. If you dilly-dally or miss completely then your throw will be skewed.

This pick up and play mechanic is all very well, but it's in the presentation that Power Darts '09 really shines. There are myriad colourful characters, many of whom linger playfully on the line between harmless cultural stereotype and, well, we won't go there. Suffice it to say, the French opponent wears a big beret and holds a baguette, whilst the Italian rides a gondola proclaiming "Mamma Mia!"

Stereotypes aside, all of the characters are handled very well and offer plenty of variety as you progress through Career mode in your bid become the best arrows player in the world.

Phil Taylor's Power Darts '09 also offers a levelling-up system, whereby you keep playing to gather experience and unlock more options and tournaments as you strive to take on Phil in the darts Holy Land of Las Vegas.

The usual mini-game distractions are also present to take your mind off the main competition in the form of a carnival, which has set itself up across the road from the pub. It offers fun balloon popping games and shooting galleries that look graphically sound, as you would expect, and offers a different way to sharpen your skills.

Unlike the big man himself, Phil Taylor is shaping up nicely and is looking to slam an arrow right into the bull's-eye with this latest effort. Click 'Track It!' to catch the review.