Pure Pool is an accurate simulation of this drunken bar sport but stumbles with a clunky UI and overall lack of options.
Developed by the same team that created Hustle Kings, Pure Pool is a pool simulation outfitted with beautiful graphics and accurate ball physics. The table, reflection off the pool balls and even the background blur effect is nicely done and makes use of the new gen high resolution capabilities. This downloadable title also controls well without being overly complicated. Using the analog sticks to control aiming and power, the opening tutorial is short and has players up and running in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, the flicking of the analog stick to control power usually falls into one of two categories – too soft or too hard. It is nice that there is a “fine aim” option but the lack of a “fine power” option is one hiccup that is hard to cure. It is also a little strange that the X axis camera option is defaulted to the opposite direction.
The problem with Pure Pool is the lazy interface. Instead of simply selecting a type of billiards match with difficulty level, the game pairs you up with DNA Profiles that mimic a human player when no online players are available. Given the inevitable smaller target audience for this downloadable game, it is likely that players will be playing against these awkward matches. The AI of opponents is also without rhyme or reason as the computer will send a ball flying off the table one shot, then drain 4 in a row the next, only to miss the next couple shots by putting too much English on it. It makes little sense and even extends into the barebones tournament mode.
Playing online against humans is also hit or miss. The problem is the empty down time between each shot; there is literally nothing to do while waiting. One match actually resulted in a win for me because of the online opponent’s inactivity after a few minutes but only rewarded me with minimal experience points. If the player could at least pan or zoom the camera in-between shots, or even chalk up a cue stick, it would help with this boredom. And speaking of panning and zooming, some shots, especially long shots from across the table, are rather difficult to line up due to limited camera options.
At an attempt to create some drama, the final winning shot results in a slow-mo zoomed-in stick-hitting-ball video but spoils the moment because Achievements will pop early and the player will know who won even before the shot is finished. But at least there are dozens of challenges to earn, each rewarding the player with a medal, that increase replay value. However, earning these medals is mostly a random affair as pocketing five balls in a row in corner pockets isn’t something you can truly plan for. Challenges likes these are also a major component to the tournament mode, making earning a perfect ranking, which are showcased with star icons, nearly impossible.
Pure Pool definitely simulates this sport very accurately but stumbles with everything else. With a terrible user interface, lacking career and troubled multiplayer options, Pure Pool can rack up a few games of fun but will ultimately leave pool cues unchalked with whiskey stains on the table.
Not As Good As: hustling in a bar
Better Than: being hustled in a bar
Also Try: Rockstar Table Tennis
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com