I’ve been crying out for snooker/pool game for a while on the Xbox, so imagine my disappointment when I saw that Pure Pool was heading Sony’s way… But then like a Ronnie Sullivan 147 the announcement came that Pure Pool was going to be on the Xbox One too! Would the game sending me pocketing balls left, right and centre? Or would it have me stuck behind countless smokers? Let’s find out.
First things first, Pure Pool is smooth the music instantly transports you to what feels like the coolest Lounge Bar in the world and has you chilling out straight away. It also gets you straight into the action, allowing you shoot off some practice shots in the main menu, to be honest things are so relaxed you could spend a good few hours just playing.
Thankfully I managed to pull myself away to explore the rest of the game, the UI is nothing special and I was disappointed to see so much of the game locked down until you earn enough stars. In career mode the only mode you can take part in is the the amateur 8-ball mode, which is made up of 5 times which consists of a range of matches. My favourite match type is called Killer, each player gets three lives and take it in turn to pot, if they miss, they lose a life who loses their lives first loses. If you pot two balls at once you earn a life, same for potting the black. It gets tactical quite quickly and I found it really enjoyable. Other modes include, Accuumilator, where you need to score as many points as possible or Speed Pot, where you have to pot a certain amount of balls within a required time frame.
The AI opponents are a mixed bag, they all have different ranks and therefore some are better than others, at times when you go up against certain opponents and despite you being in an amateur tournament you find yourself being 8-balled before you even realise it! At the same time though you do see them make silly mistakes being made and its then when you need to capitalise. Thankfully losing isn’t the end as you can still earn stars depending on if you met a certain criteria such potting only in corners. There are also a ton of accolades to earn, such as snookering your opponents a number of times or winning a certain amount of matches. You always feel like you are making progress in the game which is nice.
If you decide not to play the career mode you can take on some online opponents, you are able to see a list of people currently playing and invite them to a game type of your choosing. Each player has a DNA that shows all sorts of statistics about their play, you then have the option to download that players DNA and play them offline whenever you choose, a bit like a drivatar in Forza. You can create leagues to take part in against a group of players you invite or just play one off matches if you prefer.
The main things that Pure Pool prides itself on are physics and presentation and do you know what? Both are sublime in this game. Everytime you weigh up a shot, apply your spin you know that the balls on the table will react in exactly the same way that they would in a real table. Add that to the incredible lighting on the balls, the noise they make as the White ball crashes into the black ball to win you the match. Even the tables different cloths are just begging to be touched, that’s how good they look. The whole game appears to be set I a swanky bar and you can see and hear people socialising in the background while the funky tunes play, it creates a brilliant atmosphere.
With the game out a few months after the Playstation version I was hoping that the Xbox One title would have already had the updates that have been implemented, such as UK based matches but unfortunately you’ll be out of luck with this, hopefully in the coming weeks we’ll see this implemented. As much as this is a chilled out a game I found myself getting frustrated at having to watch the AI play their shots, it would be nice to be able to skip their shots but at present that isn’t something you can do, thankfully matches don’t take too long but I’m just impatient.
You can edit your profile so that you can have a certain table skin, cue and even preferred game type. Here you can also go through the accolades that you may have earned while playing.
VooFoo have done a brilliant job with Pure Pool, it helps that their isn’t much competition for pool games currently, but frankly if anyone tries to produce a similar game they will have a huge task on their hands to better this game.
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