Publisher: VooFoo Studios
Developer: VooFoo Studios
We've got trouble, I mean terrible terrible trouble… with a capital P that rhymes with P and that stands for POOL! While it’s true that the billiards genre hasn't been oversaturated, it is nice when a developer revisits it to improve on what they had previously created and were remembered fondly for. For VooFoo Studios that would be Hustle Kings, which was a fantastic pool game last generation. Up until now, one could only wonder if they would be able to improve upon the greatness of their last release. The answer is a resounding yes!
Pure Pool is not just a name, it’s a description of what may be the most accurate and polished pool simulation ever created. Sure, there may be a thing or two left out that we've seen in other pool titles, and sure the online at this time is sketchy at best, but when all the chips are down there isn't one game in this reviewer’s memory that has captured the game of pool better on a console than Pure Pool on the PS4.
Visually the game is a stunner, from the photorealistic billiards balls, to the rough look of the felt lining of the tables, and finally to the lively atmospheric backdrops where you really feel like you are in an upscale pool hall — everything just looks spot on. While the game looks stellar, it also seems a bit sterile when it comes to personality as there are no cut scenes, voice overs, or even the view of your player model or opponent with the exception of your avatar, which is quite generic. This is one of the few steps back the developers took from Hustle Kings. I’m not sure if it was to make the game feel more genuine than hokey, but after a few games you just are eager for some chatter other conversation other than the jazzy music to fill the void.
Of course the main draw of any good simulation is how the game plays, and let me tell you, they have all the intricacies down that you would hope for in a pool title. No matter if you are just shooting around the table in practice, or trying to pot all the balls in the quickest time, it all just feels right. The game takes all the correct geometry of the game and takes into account angles, height, spin, speed, and power and really captures the essence in a way that your controller is an acceptable substitute to a cue. The only real gripe I would have to say is that the game puts you in the eyes of the player, so no blimp cam shots to be found here, and while you do have the option to see down the table with the “stand up” option, it pales in comparison to what gamers have grown accustom to. That being said it also recreates the feeling of being at the table without the “video game” bells and whistles to help improve your game.
There are quite a number of modes to enjoy that mix up the games of 8 and 9 ball nicely. There is also a somewhat lengthy career mode that will keep you busy for quite some time. The online mode seems like it can be fantastic, but at the time of this review I experienced a lot of disconnects and server loss, so I will give that mode some time. If all is repaired I can imagine that pool fans will be preoccupied for many nights online. What’s more, if you don’t find the game’s surprisingly good A.I. a challenge, you can download the DNA of an online player who will play with their tendencies even if you can’t find the time for a real match against them. Think Forza Motorsports' Driveatar and you will know what I mean in regards in how this logic works.
Overall, Pure Pool is a fun and accurate representation of the fine game of billiards and there will be little that fans will find that is overlooked here. Rack'em up, cause at the budget price of only $15 it is cheaper than a few rounds at your local pool hall, and all without the smell of stale beer and cigarettes to take home with you.