Despite being an extremely popular recreational game, there have been very few video games that try to replicate Snooker. Occasionally we’ll see one though, especially on downloadable platforms, such is the case of Pure Pool, on Xbox Live Arcade, PSN and Steam. Pure Pool does a really good job at mimicking the experience of setting up shots and implementing the proper rules. Although getting used to using the right analog stick to push the pool stick is kind of tricky, it really feels similar to matching the pressure as you do in the real game. The jumping into a game is extremely fluid as soon as the opening titles pass you can play immediately jump into any game. This makes the game extremely easy to pick up.
The game’s UI and graphics are a mixed bag, while in tutorial mode there are PSN names of people on the games popping up in the corner of the screen. The UI can be confusing and you need to press a button just to prompt it. Also while the table and balls are gorgeously rendered the pool stick and background leave much to be desired. There’s also a dramatic moment every time someone makes the winning shot where the pool stick hits the cue ball it makes an animation where a cloud of chalk dust hits the air. However the cloud animation is very flat and looks extremely out of place. Not only that but since the only thing you can unlock is pool sticks it would be nice if they didn’t look so jagged. It just seems so odd that a game that has some of the best looking set pieces I’ve seen in a long time can have such jarringly bad elements.
Pool is a very social game and would seem great for multiplayer, however I’ve never been able to publicly join a match online. There seems to be a massive connectivity issue and thus cannot review multiplayer. However similar to ghosts in racers, there’s an option to download players DNA to have a CPU act as your friends. The local multiplayer however works very well and just like the real game lets you pass the stick to your friend allowing play with just one controller.
The game is extremely soothing to play, it’s relaxing and calming and extremely easy to pick up and put down. However the price is a bit steep at $13, without much to unlock there’s not much incentive to just play alone and with multiplayer issues it can be a difficult sell. However the easy to get into pick up and put down gameplay provides an enjoyable experience for any fan of the real game. – 7/10
Note: The Playstation 4 version was played for this review and is the version demonstrated in the screenshots.