Pool Nation PS3 Review

Publisher: CherryPop Games  Developer: CherryPop Games  Genre: Sports  Players: 1-4  

Age Rating: 3+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox 360

Pool Nation first saw its release on Xbox Live in the dying months of last year, and was well received critically. Now CherryPop Games have brought the game to another system in the form of a PS3 version, which is now available to download on Sony’s PlayStation Network. Pool Nation is the England-based developer’s very first game, and, as you’ll find out in this review, it’s a rather good first effort.

In terms of the single player game, the Tour Mode is the meatiest mode that the game has to offer. The Tour Mode presents you with various tournaments, and your objective is obviously to come out on top in each one in either 8 or 9 ball pool. You take on AI opponent after AI opponent, although each match also has optional bonus objectives for you to aim for, such as creating a streak of potted balls or achieving a clever trick shot, which also unlocks bonus matches.

The Tour Mode gets more difficult as you progress, and some of the AI opponents are tricky to topple. A single mistake can end up in you carelessly throwing the match away, as the AI has a tendency of capitalising on any mistakes you make. There’s even some that won’t give you the opportunity to even think about potting a ball, as your opponent clears the table before you are even given the chance to lift your cue. Perhaps this will prove to be too frustrating for some.

Pool Nation also has another single player mode, Endurance Mode. This mode has you potting balls as quickly as possible as more balls get added to the table, and if the ball number happens to go over a certain amount, then you’ll fail. It’s a fantastically fun mode, and will also prove to be addictive to many as they attempt to beat their previous best survival time, as well as those of their friends.

When it comes to gameplay mechanics, Pool Nation certainly impresses with its realistic physics and level of depth. The game does have a tutorial mode for first time players, and it’s well worth a play to get to grips with everything from the very basics to the more high-level skills that could prove to win you a match if utilised properly. If you’re familiar with Pool, then Pool Nation does have most of the tools that you would expect such a game to have.

In all the times I tried, I failed to find a single opponent to play against online. With the latter said, if you purchase this game intending to play against human opponents, I would advise you to only do so if you know others who own the game, or if you have other people available to play against in the same room. As I write this, the online servers are shockingly empty.

Visually, Pool Nation is lovely to look at. The shiny balls roll realistically, and the slow motion flourishes also add to the presentation and the drama of the game. There are also various backgrounds and tables, which all look just as lovely as those shiny, reflective balls.

Pool Nation may prove to be frustrating in a number of ways, namely in the tough AI and when you attempt to find someone to play against online, but this is still a very playable Pool game, which works in exactly the manner that a Pool game should. As a developer, CherryPop Games have got off to a very good start with Pool Nation.