Pool is an undeniably classy sport. It exudes a sort of brash coolness not found in other sports, and is enjoyable to people of all skill levels. While not the hardest thing in the world to emulate, many games don’t manage to fully capture the raw experience of pool. The atmosphere, the thrill and the strategy of placing the cue at the precise angle and pulling back to just the right point to ensure that you slam the ball right into the pocket is often lost in many iterations of the sport. Thankfully, Pure Pool does a beautiful job of recreating it in fully capacity.
Pure Pool is completely focused on getting you straight to the main attraction, with the start screen being a solo game allowing you to practice to your hearts content. The entire game works on this basis. Regardless of what you’re doing there is always a match going on in the background, even while navigating menus or playing around in settings. It creates this wonderfully constant and seamless flow of action, only interrupted by the opposing player taking their turn.
There is quite a number of play modes available. The main campaign mode takes the form of a ladder based tier system, wherein you face up against different characters (only identifiable through the ambiguous picture beside their name) with a variety of side attractions, usually tasking you with quick fire rounds of skill based trickery either timed, or with specific objectives to complete. As you progress, the difficulty ramps up rather significantly, with, “amateur,” opponent A.I. often getting a sudden injection of professional pumped into them mid-round, as they suddenly become one with cue ball, slicing it around, potting one after another.
Elsewhere, you can play of the challenges available in the career mode, along with local and online multiplayer, with online implementation being excellently thought out. A list of all players you can challenge, including A.I. challengers are in a drop down menu, along with the ability to join and create leagues as you please. Intermittent notifications at the top of the screen update to new players logging on, as well as any accolades/achievements you earn throughout each session from completing certain criteria.
The most beautiful part of this game is the pure and utter realism seeping into every aspect of it’s creation. Gameplay-wise, it does a fantastic job of creating true to life physics. The camera is placed at the end of you cue, just as you would play in person, with a, “standing” option allowing you to look around but not to shoot. It takes this approach of fully immersing you into it’s world, by making like almost like a slice of the real one. Any mistakes made are all on you. With a bar showing the direction the ball will go should you hit, little more is given to you in the form of help. It refrains from the typical hand holding, compelling the player to hone their skills by their own merit.
This works wonders in it’s favour, as it allows you to build a true appreciation for the sport and virtually teaches you how to play for real. Within a few rounds, you begin to pick up on all these little intricacies and complexities, such as learning how far back the cue should be pulled, where you should strike the ball, how to apply a spin to the ball, plant shots etc. Almost to the point where you can be in full control of a game at any time.
This realism carries over into it’s presentation. Pure Pool is a gorgeous game. It borders on photo-realistic with the level of polish that has gone into detailing not only the balls and table, but the actual pool hall itself. It gives the area some live, as slightly blurred figures walk around, drinking at the bar, laughing amongst friends and just generally have a good time while you surround the table. The lounge emits a wholly elegant ambiance, backed up with a pleasantly swanky light jazz soundtrack, solidifying this area and transporting you to a lobby of grace and luxury, where stories and anecdotes are shared over wine.
Pure Pool is a perfect game for any sort of billiards to partake in. It’s level of realism and top-notch atmosphere pave the way for thoroughly enjoy affair. During my playthrough, I found the online mode to be a little unstable, but was still able to partake in a reasonable of sessions with only a minimal amount of lag. While some may find the lack of unlockables (limited to new pool cues) and inability to perform trick shots somewhat lackluster, this game is more about simulation. It creates immensely satisfying true to life environment, and perfectly recreates the stylish pastime. Watching as the cue ball careens around the table, gently pocketing a ball into the corner socket never grows old, and for the price of €10, this is Pool title I completely recommend you jump into.