Pure Pool Review
Pure Pool is a simulation game based over a pool table, featuring simple mechanics and a mellow soundtrack. Available as a downloadable game Pure Pool has the potential to titillate pool enthusiasts, simulator fans or anyone looking for a simple game to chill out with occasionally. With customisable tables, pool cues and a respectable line up of game modes, Pure Pool may not be everyone’s first pick of game, but it contains a surprising amount of fun amidst its packaging.
Focused on a pool table with ‘Pure Pool’ and an 8 ball emblazoned across the table, the layout does not change during the entire game, it’s a dusky pool hall, silhouettes drink casually nearby. This works for the title, being a pool simulator there are very few options for extra graphics. The table is customizable with preloaded felt designs to choose from, some of random design, others focusing on the logos for the various publishing and development teams involved in bringing Pure Pool to the public. The graphic display is exceptional, every effort has been made to polish the title, billiards look hyperreal, the backdrop, music, everything has been designed with care to encapsulate the environment of an upper-class pool hall. One aspect of Pure Pool that felt lacking was the music; soft Jazz tones dominated the soundtrack, which was setting appropriate but bland.
Whilst discussing customisation, players are given the opportunity to upgrade their pool cues as they progress through the various skill levels set out by the game. Levels to upgrade start at Level 5 and continue up to Level 143, experience to rise up through level rankings is gained by playing challenges or against other players, no experience is awarded during Free Play. One of the most assistive, and well-designed parts of the game, is the cues’ visual meter, two different colour lines detail the trajectory of the cue ball, as well as its target. This system makes for easy playing, though the greater the distance between the cue ball and its target, the fainter the lines get. Diminishing the line markers over a distance is effective because it leaves a challenge for players. Pure Pool’s shot system was well designed: shifting cue ball placement, lining up a shot, fine aiming and creating spin in a shot are all well-defined to enhance competitive gameplay.
Standing over the table there are several game modes available, known as challenges: Speed Pot; Checkpoint; Perfect Potter; Royal Rumble; and Free Play.
Free Play is just that, the table is set and players have unlimited time to sink all of the balls on the table. Speed Pot requires players to sink all balls on the table in the fastest time possible. Checkpoint has a time limit, players must pot as many balls as they can manage ahead of the timer running out. Perfect Potter asks players to sink balls consecutively, should the player miss a ball the game ends immediately. Royal Rumble mirrors Speed Pot except that a new ball is added to the table every 30 seconds. Alternatively players can verse live opponents online in US 8-Ball; 9-Ball; Blackball; Killer; and Accumulator. In the event that a player would like to play against a simulated enemy, the game provides downloadable “DNA Profiles” which allows players to compete against simulated versions of their friends and acquaintances.
Simulators have a limited appeal, without having superb graphics, and a multitude of game modes to flick through. There are no major flaws that need to be noted for Pure Pool, it works well, looks beautiful, categorically speaking it ticks all of the boxes. But the greatest challenge for a game such as this one is that there are so few reasons to continue playing. Admittedly there is a charm to casually sitting around and tapping pool balls into pockets, occasionally getting an extra few Gamerscore for very little effort. However a game needs a challenge, with Pure Pool there is no genuine challenge, this is the drawback of simulators, they’re repetitive, players must repeat the same scenarios time again with the goal of improving the overall score just a fraction. Pure Pool is not a bad game, quite the contrary it has a glossy charm, is relaxing to play, and as mentioned at the start, surprisingly fun. The greatest drawback of this game is that once a player gets bored once, there are limited reasons why they should open the game again.
About: Sarah Rigg
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