When is a sport not a sport? Some would argue when that sport is Darts, Snooker, or Golf. If you’re an optimist, however, and don’t have a portable darts board and around 50 square feet of space available to you, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy a bit of projectile-based sporting (or gaming) action directly from your browser. This miniature compendium of online darts games is virtually guaranteed to rock your virtual world as you step up to the imaginary oche in the plainly titled Darts, the non-copyright-infringing Bullseye, the much-appealing Pub Darts 3D, or the intriguing-sounding Darts Party.
Shockwave’s Darts is a straight-down-the-line Darts game. Devoid of all the flash (figuratively – it still requires Adobe flash player to run properly in your browser) of the many mobile darts games you’ll find in the app stores, Darts offers you the chance to engage in some uncomplicated, simulated throwing of sharp projectiles at a numbered board.
The mechanics are very much like any other online darts game: you use your mouse/mousepad to throw three darts at the board for every turn, attempting to accumulate as many points as possible along the way. For those used to swipe-based mechanics on your phones, the mouse control will take some getting used to, but it won’t be long before you’re almost getting that 180 quite regularly.
Shockwave Darts offers a few options to ensure it appeals to players of all skill levels and familiarity with the game. You can choose to play 501, 301, 101, or even the insane 1001 modes, as well as being able to choose the difficulty of your computer opponent. You can even choose your player from the four lowly-looking characters offered. This isn’t going to blow you away, and it’s a long way from the substantially addictive Darts Club in terms of polish and visual design, but it does the job in a no-frills way.
If you’re a darts purist, then the approach that Bullseye takes to its mechanics and interface may very well disturb you to the core. On the surface, it looks like any other online darts game. It offers the standard 501 match approach, presenting you with a grainy two-dimensional darts board in the usual colours you would expect to find in any pub or darts club. Its simplicity is even greater than that of Shockwave’s Darts game, and the gameplay options are a little restricted since there are no 2-player options.
Where this game stands out – for better or worse – is the gameplay mechanics/input controls. Instead of the usual mouse-controlled approach, the developers Robber Games chose to go with dual-metered axis-band controller. The X-axis and Y-axis bars fluctuate from left to right and up and down respectively, and you are required to stop each in the position that corresponds to where you want the darts to fall on the board. This takes the game of darts and applies a unique approach that requires a different skill from usual to become proficient. Bullseye is enjoyable, but like marmite, the controls will either be loved or hated by those that play it.
Mousebreaker are legendary in the field of browser-based game development, being responsible for countless, addictive flash-based sports titles with twists to the gameplay mechanics to make them stand out. Darts Party is no exception to this rule; it has a variety of gameplay modes to keep things fresh, and its gameplay/input mechanics will be familiar to online darts game players, but with a small difference to mix things up a little.
The game uses a unique mechanic to allow you to throw the virtual darts, with an aiming reticule appearing on the screen, controlled by your mouse. A circle expands and contracts around the reticule, with the timing of your click determining how accurate your throw is. The smaller the circle when you click, the more accurate your throw will be. There is a time pressure, too: if you take too long the reticule will begin to shake, making shots more difficult. There are modes such as Around the Clock, Tournament, and Dart Attack, and the graphics of Darts Party are superior to most online darts games out there.
Pub Darts 3D
Another darts game to eschew the standard mouse-swipe projectile-throwing mechanics, Pub Darts 3D offers up its target-based controls to form the basis of a game that offers a variety of challenges and game modes to keep you entertained for as long as is humanly possible for an online darts game.
It’s easy to see why Pub Darts 3D has had such positive reviews in the comments, due to it offering an enjoyable (as well as addictive) control mechanic that makes use of an on-screen crosshair with fluctuating accuracy circle. You aim at the desired location on the board, clicking the mouse when the accuracy circle is smallest in order to get the most precise aim on each dart.
The controls are supremely simple, but that doesn’t mean you’ll breeze through the game without a challenge. You can enjoy 501 and 301 game types, engaging in tournaments and/or entering one of the several challenge modes which include around the clock and playing against “The Master”. This game even offers medals to denote your progress. A simple game with basic graphics, Pub Darts 3D is enjoyable all the same.