Pure Pool

I have always been fascinated by the game of pool. It is the quintessential bar room game that is also highly mathematical. It is the ultimate game of geometry and physics. I’m terrible at pool in real life, so whenever I get the chance to play a video game version I get rather excited.

Pure Pool starts off with a basic tutorial. It teaches you how to put spin on the ball, to aim, change the view, and other skills pertaining to pool. The game itself is rather simple. Use one analog stick to aim and the other to adjust the power of the shot. This is where the beauty of the game comes out. Just because you can play the game doesn’t make you good at it. As you begin, the game seems really easy. The HUD shows the exact path of the ball and the trajectory of those it hits. The real complexity and frustration comes as you progress through the career option.

The career mode starts off as a simple game of regular pool, aka "8-ball."Afterwards, you are expected to complete challenges to progress through different tournaments. There are a few different game types. Killer, where you each have lives and every turn that doesn’t end with a ball in a pocket costs one. Speed Pocket; clear the table as quickly as possible. Perfect Potter; try to consecutively sink as many balls as possible without missing. These challenges get progressively more difficult and the opponents become much more talented. They often make shots that, even with the pick-up-and-play HUD, are difficult in and of themselves.

Aside from the challenges, Pure Pool offers a few additional game types not found in career mode: blackball and accumulator. Accumulator instructs you to sink the balls in numerical order. Points match the number on the ball. Blackball is where you take turns targeting a specific colored ball. This continues until one player only has to sink the black ball. These game types are all very fun to play and easy to learn.

My favorite thing about this game is how good it looks. Since it is just a simple game of pool there graphics are top notch. It looks fantastic. There are some background environments but they are blurry and intentionally out of focus. The pool table itself looks great. The picture quality is crystal clear.

Not only does the game look great it also plays fantastically. It runs smoothly and feels rewarding as you pile up successful shots and fine-tune your skills. In a matter of hours it feels as though you really are a pool pro. This is another example of a small game with a clear goal that is executed perfectly. It is the most fun I’ve had playing a pool simulator. Every shot is as redeeming as the one before it. This simple pool sim is as polished as a cue ball and belongs to anyone who likes the game.