Pool-Nation-XBLA-Review Pool Nation XBLA Review

   31/10/2012 at 15:20       Chris OToole       4 COMMENTS. - Score 5/5
 - Pool , XBLA, Cherry Pop Games, Mastertronic, Balls

Beautiful Balls.

Seriously. I've never seen balls as beautiful as these, Shiny, smooth and perfectly round, animated with the deft touch of a programmer that knows their way around a decent sphere. I'm not even taking the piss here y'know. I was honestly blown away by how good this game looks, from the lighting to the weave on the tables surface, this is one pin sharp grade A effort.

This debut release from lewdly named Manchester developer Cherry Pop Games, Pool Nation has almost everything even the biggest fan of pocket billiards could wish for. Game modes include classic 8 and 9-ball games, to Killer, 3ball and the frantic Speed Pool mode, endurance in which you have to pot balls against the clock whilst ever more are being added to the table, reach 24 balls on the table and that's it, game over. There are also tournaments to be had, in these you take on a motley bunch of AI opponents, and believe me when I tell you, these swines are no easy marks, providing a robust but fair challenge. Make a stupid mistake though, and they will be sure to punish you. During these tournaments you can also take part in side games, which will often change up the rules and game-types for a bit of a change, these provide a veritable cornucopia of unlockable extras from table designs, new cues, ball patterns and 12 beautiful looking arenas to play in.

To help you in your quest to overturn those smug-looking upstarts from the tournaments (or indeed, your smug-looking mates) a VERY helpful tutorial mode is included, this includes everything you need to know about the guide lines, fine tuning, back-spin and even trick shots off the cushion. It's so comprehensive I think it's actually improved my real-life game. Or at least that's what I told myself when I was shuffling around the table six pints to the wind, I did go on to eventually win the game though.

Online options are very comprehensive, so you'll be able to play with your mates (or random strange people) any time you like in either single matches or tournaments, and when they come over for an actual visit you can even show them your saved replays,which again look stunning, even down to showing a puff of chalk dust from the cue and the sweet slow motion clack of ball on ball. My word that sounds pornographic.

Pool Nation Is the best pool game I have ever played and I've played a few, starting with the Vic 20 upwards. It's perfect in its execution and the leader-board integration is brilliant, you'll never need another video pool game after this, that's for sure, and at just 800 moonpoints it's a bit of a bargain too. This deserves to sell by the bucket-load, make it so people, make it so.

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