Click here to return to the main site.

PS4 Review

Pure Pool


Format: PS4
Publisher: Ripstone
Developer: VooFoo Studios
RRP: £7.99
Age Restrictions: 3+
Release Date: 30 July 2014

Now, it may just be me, but the PS4 is, so far, a bit of a visual disappointment. There have been a few games which have shone with the wow factor, but so many more have failed to improve noticeably from the concurrent PS3 release. Pure Pool is not one of these.

Review imageGoing for photo realism the game throws you into the world of competitive pool. From Voofoo Studios, the makers of Hustle Kings, winner of Kotaku’s Best Downloadable Sports Game of the Year award, for the PS3, Pure Pool takes the game to the next level.

At its heart is a really rather good game of pool, which can be played against the AI or against human opponents. It’s pretty easy to get a game, at the time of writing, and they seem like a pleasant bunch, very important when you’re going online to get thrashed. There is a small problem with the online game, which is the noticeable lag, which does not appear to be connected to your opponent mulling over their next move, rather it seems to be a problem with the servers. Hopefully this will be resolved. The game also has a free upgrade, the VooFoo DNA, which allows you to play against the makers of the game.

To make things more interesting the game splits itself into a number of components, the largest of which is the career mode. Each game has a number of rewards, over and above the trophies, of which there are forty-five, including many silver and gold, which can be won, with each game awarded with three stars. The first is for beating your opponent and the second and third for fulfilling differing criteria like trick shots, no fouls, etc. Each game, and the additional stars, go towards you collecting XP.

Review imageThe menu is accessed via the options button and broken down into various sections. 'My Games' allow you to choose to continue your league games, have a quick one-off game or play offline. Next up 'Players' lets you see and invite all the players that are currently online. At the time of writing this review this numbered in the couple of thousand, including nine of the VooFoo team, so it’s not hard to get a game.

Here you can also choose to play against the AI. The 'Career Option' will display how far you have in the various tournaments. There are five in all, three 8-ball, Amateur, Pro and Master as well as a 9-ball Pro and Master. 'Rankings' will tell you how you’re doing compared to the other human players and gives you something to strive for. Top dog at the moment has played 467 games and won 382, so I have some work to do to catch them up.

'My Profile' gives you access to a lot more than the name implies. Here you can change your cue, the table skin and baize colour as well as the game type. Here you can also invert the ‘x’ or ‘y’ axis, enable/disable the shot cinematics and play around with four different elements of the soundscape. For competitive types you can also check how you’re progressing on your accolades.

Review imageAs well as the on and offline game Pure Pool also has a number of challenges which can be accessed via the menu, including 'Speed Pot', 'Checkpoint', 'Perfect Potter' and 'Royal Rumble', all good for XP and that little extra bit of practice.

'Extras' will display any available DLC’s, although the only one at the moment is the VooFoo DNA. Lastly, for those who may not have played the game before, there is a help section which pretty much tells you everything you could wish to know about 8 and 9-ball pool with a handy hint and tips section.

In practice the game is controlled primarily with the left and right joysticks with the left controlling the direction and the right the speed and power of your cue. Ahead of you you’ll see a handy ghost trail which gives the direction of the white ball's travel and, if aiming for a specific ball, it will also show a yellowed trail indicating the struck balls trajectory. The triangle, square, X and circle are assigned to more subtle changes including move ball, stand up, fine aim and apply spin.

Review imageThe overall environment is somewhat of a background blur, but the detail on the table is pin sharp, including the texture of the playing surface and the reflected light on the balls.

The strength of the game, apart from its options and visuals is that it can be what you want it to be allowing you to do anything from a relaxing game of smacking the balls around for your personal delight to taking on hard challenges and potentially harder human opponents.


Charles Packer

Review image