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PS3 Game Review

Pool Nation


Format: PS3
Publisher: Cherry Pop Games
Developer: Cherry Pop Games
RRP: £5.99
Age Restrictions: 3+
Release Date: 22 May 2013

Cherry Pop Games has come up with what should be a sure fire winner with Pool Nation. There have been other pool games, but not one that looked this good, or played so well. Although there is an online mode, which we will get to later, Pool Nation provides a satisfying single player experience.

Review imageIn single player you can choose between playing eight or nine ball games against increasingly more skilled players across four tournaments, Sky Lounge, Exchange Square Cup, West Coast Trophy and Valley Lodge Masters. The environment are well detailed and pleasing to the eye, Cherry Pop have even gone so far as to include animated adverts on the buildings you can see through the windows. It may not be something you will ever notice, but it says a lot for their commitment to quality. As you progress through the tournaments there are extra games to be played, these are not compulsory, but they do unlock stuff you might want later.

Although the game does not take itself too seriously as evidenced by your opponents bios, the game itself is a perfectly rendered version of pool, with impressive physics and detail on the balls and table. If you’re new to pool the single player also provides a set of tutorials which takes you through from simple shots to impressive trick shots. This section is not to be missed as you’re going to need all these skills as you progress up to the harder opponents. If you stick to simple shots you might spend a long time with the A.I. wiping the table with you. If you have a particularly good game you can save and retrieve it from the single player section.

Review imageIf you get tired of the single player mode you can try out "Endurance". Here you have to keep potting balls, while the game keeps adding them. You have to stay ahead of the A.I. and the object is to remain playing for as long as you can. To spice things up you can change the level of the aim aid, to make the game harder, and alter the location of the game. There are twelve locations, sixteen cues, twelve ball sets and sixteen decals to play around with, but only if you have unlocked them via the main single player game.

"Verses" allows you to practice against specific A.I. players. This also comes with a myriad of options from the number of frames, to the forty-two unlockable players and sixteen locations. Where the game fell down for me was the online feature, which technically, I’m sure works well, if you either have people on your friends list who want to play or can find someone online. I tried for the best part of two weeks and couldn’t find a single soul to play with. If the lounges do fill up and you’re able to play against real oppositions then this would become a killer game that will eat days of your life away. There is the option to see where you are in the rankings, but as no real players appeared, I sat there on my lonesome.

Review imageThe game comes with the usual options to change the gaming settings, including controller and audio, it is here where there is a picture of your controller which tells you what every button does. There are three pieces of very cheap downloadable content, in fact one of them; the British set of balls, is completely free.

The controls work extremely well allowing real delicacy in how hard you hit the ball and I found no complaint with the overall control of the game.

Had the game had a thriving online community this would certainly have scored ten. Still, the single player remains a rich experience, with excellent physics, graphics and game play.


Charles Packer

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