The Apper
iPhone App Reviewer

Review: Pool

Billiards (or “pool” in this case) is played on a table with six pockets.  This version of Pool includes eight-ball and nine-ball.  Eight-ball is a pool game, popular in most of the world.  It is played with sixteen balls (a cue ball and fifteen object balls) on a pool table with six pockets.  The objective is to either knock all of the striped or solid balls (depending on which one you knock in first), then the eight-ball.  The object of Nine-ball is to pocket the 9 ball in a legal manner, subject to the rules in effect at the time.  In Nine-ball, on all shots, a player must cause the cue ball to contact the lowest numerical ball on the table first before the cue ball strikes any other ball.  This version of Pool was developed by Adikus, and published by PosiMotion.  It currently sells in the App Store for $5.99.

Presentation

To start, there is no story to this pool game.  Most pool games these days have some story, but they usually get in the way of the game.  There is no warm up video, or any videos for that matter.  The game starts by dropping you into a menu that gives you the option between between Nine-ball and Eight-ball, and if you want to play against a CPU or a friend.  The game just doesn’t pull off a pool “feel” to the game.  It lacks a lot in the visual department.

Score: 6.5

Graphics

Nothing in this game is 3D.  Not one sprite, nothing.  For a pool game, that really hurts the graphics.  The game could offer so much more, but stays really simple.  And, the non-3D graphics wouldn’t hurt so much if there was any animation.  That’s right, there is no animation.  The ball always looks the same, it never changes at all.

Score: 4

Sound

 There is no music in this game at all.  There is a few sounds when the balls hit another ball, or the sides.  Nothing more then that.  Overall, the sounds are OK, but not enough for me to keep them on.

Score: 5

Gameplay

The controls for this game are nice and simple.  Where ever you point, that the direction the ball will go in.  On the side of the screen, is your power slider.  It works well, but I wish I could just choose my power.  A problem I have encountered, every once and a while, is if I pull back my finger too far, and try to bring it back, sometimes the ball just shoots itself.  On the bottom, are + and – arrows.   These let you slightly move the ball right or left.  My only problem with these is I want to be able to hold down my finger, and it keeps move my direction.  I don’t want to tap the screen 50 times to get it in the exact right spot.  The controls all in all work well enough, they just need a little fixing.  But, the physics in the game are hit and miss.  Sometimes they are very accurate, and just right.  But other times, the balls go in random directions.  I might not be a pool pro, but I’ve played a lot of pool in my life, and I know how the physics in pool work.  Even the CPU sometimes gets screwed up, on the hardest level.  They will hit the ball, and it looks like it should go in, but the ball goes all over the place!  One last thing I noticed about this game is that the balls slow down realy quickly.  They’ll be going fast, and all of a sudden, just stop dead.  In a regular game of pool, the balls do not stop dead when they are moving at a good speed.  Overall, in this gameplay, it is really hit and miss.

Score: 6

Value

It currently sells in the app store for $5.99.  This price is a little too high for a pool game with only two game modes.  $3.99 is a much more considerable price point.  If they had added one or two more game modes (one-pocket anyone?).  This game would also have been worth more than $5.99 if it had some sort of online mode. 

Score: 6

Lasting Appeal

The good old game of pool always lasts me a long, long time.  And this game is no exeption to the rule.  While there is only two game modes (well, there is a stupid one player mode, where you just try to knock all the balls in), you can still get a good amount of fun out of just playing it.  Even though the gameplay won’t win any awards, it is enough to keep you coming back.

Score: 8.5

Overall

This game is in the middle of the road.  On one hand, you have a classic game, with some good old fun.  But, on the other hand, you have a game full of problems, with a lack of any real depth.  Overall, I think that people should skip this game.  Many, much better pool games will eventually come along.  And, if there are any developers out there wondering, “well, what kind of pool game do you want?”.  Here is exactly what I want for the iPhone: Bankshot Billiards 2 (First Page, Second Page).  It came out in 2005!  And yet I still play it even to this day.  I’d pay $20 for a game exactly like this on the iPhone!

Presentation: 6.5
Graphics: 4
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 6
Value: 6
Lasting Appeal: 8.5
Overall: 6.4

What To Do (Buy Or Not): No

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