Title: Pure Pool
Developer: VooFoo Studios
Release Date: 2014-31-07
Spent Time: 4+ Hours
Average grade internationally: 65% via Gamerankings.com
Pegi Age rating: 12+
Price: £8 via Steam
Balls of steel? Nope, Pure Pool balls.
Pure Pool is a plain and simple pool sim offering up US 8-Ball and 9-Ball game modes in their purest form. You either pick a side (spots or stripes) and clear the table before potting the black 8 ball, or you work sequentially through numbered balls until the 9 ball is the last to go (or pot it legally earlier in the game) to win.
I’m hoping that most of you know how pool works well enough that I don’t have to go in to the rules, but if you don’t then the game is very good an pointing out when you’ve made a mistake and telling you what to do next.
There are a number of options to plump for from the practice table – I like that touch that you’re always able to have a knock about as the default menu setting – which include single games, career mode, challenges, as well as online play.
Career is where I’ve spent most of my time, gradually working through tournaments against steadily harder opponents whilst perfecting my skills. Be in no doubt, there is a fair amount of skill needed here despite there being an aiming line that’s good for about half the table length. Anyone can sink a pot, but getting the cue ball into position afterwards is a prized artform.
Throughout the career there are various different challenges to distract you from the stock games, like Checkpoint – start with a timer to clear the set number of balls and each pot adds time; Perfect Potter – clear the requisite number of balls without missing a pot; or Royal Rumble – clear the table in the time limit, but new balls are added randomly at intervals.
Keep an close eye on the balls. And don´t mess up. Pro-tip nr 1 and 2.
Each is designed to enhance and build your techniques whilst gently moving you on. There’s never a point where you play and think the challenge can’t be done, if anything the challenge difficulty doesn’t ramp up quickly enough at times, and that’s not a bad thing. Everything seems designed so that you play at your own pace and to your own skill level: if a challenge is proving too tricky to master then skip it and play something else instead, or practice and keep plugging away.
Loading is at an absolute minimum so there’s encouragement to replay with no penalties. The video below showcases a couple of the modes and the transition from oneto another (nothing is edited down).
There’s the option to setup a league and pit your friends against each other, though in this option it appears you can only do it with live opponents. Not a drawback, but it would have been nice to see a DNA version to compliment it, particularly as you can enter the league screens and start a game with no one else online, meaning sitting and waiting with no action happening until you quit.
Not that there isn’t anything to look at… You can tell by the screenshots that this is a gorgeous looking game that runs silky smooth at nearly all times, there’s only a touch of slowdown in a slow motion shot of the cue striking the ball when you’re taking your final shot of the game – otherwise it’s all gravy.
Tables can be customised with different colours and logos, so you can personlise the game to a degree. The background ambience is good and clean, and because your focus is always on the game at hand it’s great that there are no distractions.
If anything you’re drawn more into the zone because there’s nothing else demanding your attention. This philosophy of keeping it simple flows through into the controls which are left stick aim, right stick cue and strike, with a couple of buttons used for spin control and fine aiming.
Sound and music: 3.5/5
Replay value: 4/5
The Gaming Ground