25th February 2024 11:30 am
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

[REVIEWED] Pure Pool, HD stripes and solids

Most people have had a go at playing pool with friends, and Pure Pool aims to let them try it in the comfort of their homes, on a PlayStation 4 or PC.

Thanks to the power of the PS4, Pure Pool looks fantastic. Even though there is only one table to play on, it looks so real that you won’t mind playing game after game on it, and the way the light in the bar (or club, I couldn’t quite tell) glints off the balls makes it look like every ball has been hand-polished before each shot.

Pure Pool Visuals
So real you can almost reach out and touch it.

There are four different game types: US 8-ball, 9-ball, Killer and Accumulator. US 8-ball has you playing the game you’ve likely played with your mates in bars already by playing stripes and solids against each other and 9-ball has you potting balls in a specific order, finishing with the 9-ball.

The Career Mode where you’ll probably spend most of your time mixes up these modes with others that offer a much different challenge. In addition to winning tournaments against ranked AI players, you’ll be tasked with sinking all balls before a timer runs out (Speed Pot), potting all balls without missing (Perfect Potter), and sinking as many balls as you can before time runs out (Checkpoint), among other game types.

Killer is a rather interesting mode that has you and your opponent (either AI or live) starting off with three points, and losing one if you miss a shot, but gaining points back for each black sunk. It’s potentially a rather tense game mode but when both players are good it usually ends up lasting many hours, with players actually gaining lives faster than they lose them.

Pure Pool Header2
It’s going to be a long night…

Actually playing Pure Pool is a real pleasure, not least of all because of its relaxed, jazzy soundtrack and classy atmosphere. Casual players can make use of guides that show where the cue ball is going and what direction the ball it strikes will travel in, but more proficient players can turn those guides off by upping their skill level to Master, and use only their judgement. They’ll still see an outline of where the cue ball is going to hit, but they won’t see where the balls will head afterward.

Even playing with the guides on isn’t enough to make each shot a sure thing, however, but it offers a great way to get used to the game. After a while you’ll be tempted to up your skill level, which is where the real challenge begins.

Pure Pool Header
Everyone needs a bit of help to get started.

The pool cue is aimed with the left stick and the strength of each shot is manually determined by how hard you pull back on the right stick and let rip. Fine-tuning your aim is possible by holding the X button down, a welcome option for times when regular cue movement is just too fast, and you can raise your head to get a better look at the table.

Putting spin on the ball is likewise straightforward. Simply hold down the triangle button and re-position the cue to hit the cue ball wherever you’d like, and the life-like physics engine takes care of the rest. With a bit 0f practice you can escape even the direst of snookered positions and impress your friends with your curved shots all at the same time.

I loved how if I concentrated on how hard I was moving the right stick, I could make the cue ball move as fast or as slow as I wanted it to. Some people may not like the table’s slow surface, though – it really isn’t fast at all but it suited my play style perfectly.

There are a bunch of single-player tournaments to compete in that earn you experience points, and earning stars for each game means you need to complete mini-challenges like potting a ball from more than 160cm away or sinking five consecutive shots in corner pockets. There’s a tremendous amount of variety in these Accolades, as they’re called, and it’s always satisfying pulling one off.

Pure Pool 2 Player
Accolades can sometimes come fast and furious.

Winning games gives you experience points that let you “level up” and gain in rank, something that ultimately shows off how much you’ve played the game and also gives other players something to consider when challenging you. Online play, though, can be a little touchy; in our opinion multiplayer Pure Pool is best when sharing a controller with a friend.

Otherwise you’ll have to wait 30 seconds for your online opponent to play his or her shot, after which you’ll be shown what happened rather than seeing it in real time. And that’s when it works; sometimes the game doesn’t register your opponent’s shot even if they played one or the connection drops resulting in the match being forfeited; other times it can be tough to even find an opponent to play.

I was also a little irritated by the never-ending barrage of notifications that “Player XYZ is online” that flashed up in the top left corner of my screen. Since these are global players of the game, not contacts in my friends list, I really didn’t care that they were online and see no reason for VooFoo to announce it. Hopefully these gripes are addressed in the patch that VooFoo has promised is in development.

Overall, though, Pure Pool is a blast to play whether you’re an old hand at pool or just a gamer looking for something fun to play. At R149 on the PlayStation Store and $12.99 on Steam, it’s such a bargain that its flaws can easily be overlooked.

Developer: VooFoo Studios
Publisher: Ripstone
Platforms: PC via Steam, PlayStation 4
Price: $12.99 (Steam), R149 (PS4)

Popular News

Subscribe to our newsletter

Select list(s):

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.