Phil Taylor's Power Darts '09

With a nickname like 'The Power', and a whole load of world title wins under his fairly substantially sized belt (well, he is a darts player), you'd expect nothing less than winning quality from a game bearing Phil Taylor's name.

He's already built up a fair reputation for decent mobile games too, having lent his name to a series that's always remained steadfastly good. And Power Darts '09 is no exception to what's gone before it, although it admittedly achieves that by not changing last year's formula very much at all.

Like before, different darts games are accessed through a central map screen, where you can choose to visit the pub (for an informal throw about to earn skill points), the carnival (for an informal throw about but in a fairground setting with ducks, targets and balloons to hit instead of a board), or a tournament. These tournaments become unlocked as you earn skill points elsewhere to make them available.

There's a massive amount of variety, and that's what has always made the Phil Taylor games so good. It's not just about throwing darts at a simple board - and even when it is, there are lots of alternatives to the 501 game to check out, such as cricket.

What's not quite so comprehensive though is the game's aiming system. This feels a bit more difficult than in the previous game, but it's still exactly the same. After moving a set of crosshairs over where you ideally want to land your dart, a few circles are brought up onto the screen.

To make your shot accurate, you simply have to press '5' when the middle circle is at its smallest. The longer you wait, the more the inner circle increases in size, which can make taking the shot harder.

If the middle circle isn't at its smallest, you'll throw the dart wonky and it'll probably land in one of the adjacent segments. Or if you're really rubbish, outside the board.

It's effective enough, but a bit boring to use. It feels harder than before to get into a rhythm where you can always score 180s, which is a good thing. But it's a bit frustrating that even after a lot of practice you'll still occasionally throw a dart that lands way off.

Additionally, it just feels like a more sophisticated system would be welcome now. Phil Taylor's already done the variations on darts and the long list of tournament types before, and this version takes that a little further with the introduction of the carnival games. Some sort of upgrade on the aiming system would be the obvious thing to improve next.

Still, even without it, Power Darts '09 is a very playable darts game. That's mainly because the amount of tournaments and places to visit for a different type of challenge feels near limitless, and the difficulty levels of your opponents is always growing to offer more of a challenge.

Perhaps like the real sport, the game isn't the most adrenaline packed pastime - especially after an hour or so's play. But it does have very smart visuals and a breadth of variety which still makes it a must-have for darts fans.

Provided they didn't play last year's game, in which case they might want to think twice before paying for a very similar experience a second time.

Phil Taylor's Power Darts '09

A great darts game with lots of different game types, challengers and tournaments. It's not that different from last year's game though, and the aiming system isn't as exciting as it could be
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