Rack 'em up.
I have to tell you upfront that I expected to go into Hustle Kings hating it, leave hating it, and then tell you how much I hated it while complaining about how hateful it was. Truthfully, when someone says "billiards video game", I can't help but think about "math problems".
Seriously, vectors and rays and stuff like that were bullshit in high school and they're bullshit today. You can see why I majored in English. Regardless, Hustle Kings managed almost instantly do away with my… pure stream of loathing. Maybe I've got a hustler in me.
Hahaha, no but seriously, when you start the game you're offered a number of different modes. You can hop online and play a range of multiplayer games, including cutthroat, 9-ball, and more. You can also do this in exhibition mode, which puts you and a select number of CPU opponents in any of the available modes.
Where Hustle Kings truly shines in the deeply varied, nicely balanced, and totally deep career mode. Here you'll rank up from pool-hall n00b to a svelt-felt vet. As you progress through each rank, you'll unlock bonus games and more matches against computer players.
Playing through the game straight will make you endlessly frustrated, especially considering games like Survival challenge you to pocket another ball with every shot. Trick shots can be even more infuriating when consistently failing doesn't necessarily mean learning how you should adjust your shot next time.
The true excellence in Hustle Kings is just how incredibly relaxing it can be. More often than not, I found myself playing a few rounds in bed before I fell asleep. The pool-hall music is very laid-back; nothing is yelling at you or screaming at you to take your shot.
Honestly, Hustle Kings is almost the perfect handheld game. It's deep and engaging, without being so engrossing you'll hate yourself for having to turn it off quickly. The music is fantastic and even if you think you'll never play pool, you might be inspired to after this game.
Just don't let the name trick you. This billiards simulator takes itself quite seriously, despite how it might present it self upfront.