I never really learned to appreciate certain past times until the last few years in my life. Call it getting older (I’m only 29 years old), call it being more open-minded, but I have only recently discovered the appeal of things like Texas Hold’em Poker and Pool. While I’m normally up for a game of pool when I catch up with friends at a pub for dinner and a few drinks, it can be hard to organise enough friends to make a decent night of it.
I can see then, the value in an accurate pool simulation game. Something simple, yet realistic of the sport that is accessible to everyone whilst still providing a challenge. In all my years of gaming I’ve never found a decent pool game that is both realistic and accessible – that is, until now. You see I’ve downloaded ‘Pure Pool’ from developer VooFoo Studios and publisher Ripstone. To say it’s a fantastic game is an understatement, as it’s by far the best pool game I have ever played.
Quite a bold statement, but it’s one that I’m happy to stand by, as Pure Pool offers accessibility and a realistic simulation of pool. Any more realistic and you’d be able to make chit chat with the bartender!
Pure Pool opens with some practice. Just you and a pool table already loaded up. There’s no need for a tutorial (if you know the rules of your preferred game) as the controls are so intuitive, just about anybody should be able to pick up the game and play immediately. From the practice game, you can choose to sink a few balls or open up the game’s menu. From there, you can choose a number of different game modes, including Career Mode, Online multiplayer and various challenge modes.
Career Mode sees you take on increasingly difficult opponents in different tournaments. While at the beginning it may seem fairly easy, the opponents do get rather difficult, realistically so. Not one player is an idiot (compared to AI opponents in other sports games), so bring your A-game or be prepared to face bitter defeat. In addition to the opponents themselves, there are also optional challenges to complete during Career Mode. These really do add a little extra challenge and fun to the game and can be anything from potting a certain number of balls consecutively to losing without any fouls. There are even optional side challenges during career mode such as sinking a number of balls within a time limit. Career mode is extremely entertaining, and much more than simply matches against A.I opponents.
If you’re feeling confident about your abilities, you can find an online match. When you’re connected to the game’s servers, you’ll see notifications of different players coming online. This will no doubt be useful in challenging opponents who might not necessarily be your friends, but may well turn out to be in the future. Matchmaking is quick, and the games are (in my experience) lag-free. I live in Australia and quite often niche games such as Battleblock Theater and Magic the Gathering can have the occasional match with lag (due to the extreme distance between some opponents), but Pure Pool has been completely free of latency so far. A pool game might not draw an audience as large as something like Call of Duty, but I’m glad that Pure Pool manages to provide a smooth online experience for its players.
Now while all the game modes are welcome, they would be all for naught if the game’s physics and visuals were lack-lustre. Pure Pool however, is one of the best looking simulators I’ve ever seen. The tables, balls and surrounding environments all look photo-realistic, and have to be seen to be believed. The balls all have realistic reflections, and there is even a very impressive extreme close-up camera that is enabled when players are attempting to sink the final ball of a game. It shows the stick’s cue hit the ball in ultra-slow-motion, with chalk flying off the stick. It’s not just the game’s raw visuals either, there are also slick effects that come into play such as motion blur and other effects that draw your focus on the action. Pure Pool is perfect from a visual standpoint.
Sound-wise, the game is on par with its visuals, with games sounding as one would expect their real-life counterparts to sound. Balls clink together and are even muffled by the felt of the pool table. The soundtrack is good too, as no matter how long a session I play for; I never tire of the game’s tunes.
- Crazy-realistic graphics. The best looking pool game ever
- Accessible gameplay. Everyone can play
- Variety of game modes and challenges offer countless hours of gameplay
- At times, the A.I. can take a while to play its shot, which is slightly off-putting.
Pool lovers, your game has finally arrived! I have no doubt that VooFoo Studios shall go down in games history as the undisputed champions of pool video game developers. This is easily the best pool game of all time. Absolutely brilliant stuff.