I’m not a very good pool player in real life, yet I’ve always found myself keenly interested in pool video games. Pure Pool is yet another iteration of a long-running sub-genre of sports video games, and it’s been quite the experience. I had forgotten how addicting these types of games can be, and sure enough, Pure Pool has reignited that feeling.

Pure Pool features three different game types: US 8-Ball, 9-Ball, and Snooker. The 8-Ball mode will have you and your opponent competing to sink the two different types of balls: solid colors and stripes. The winner is determined by who can sink their selection of balls the quickest and also sink the black 8-ball. 9-Ball plays a little differently, as both opponents must now sink the balls in numerical order. The winner is whoever can sink the 9-ball first.

Snooker is the oddball of the bunch (pun intended), playing by an entirely different set of rules. Snooker games are played on a larger, green-colored table and feature a collection of 15 dark red balls and six colored balls (yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, and black). Using a point system, each player must sink a red ball and then follow it up with a subsequent colored ball that the game will identify, though the color can also be voted on by the active player. The winner is whichever player racks up the most amount of points after all balls are sunk. A number of points can be conceded to the other player for fouls, however. So, matches here in Pure Pool can be pretty close.

Skill and accuracy

Pure Pool review Nintendo Switch Ripstone Publishing VooFoo Studios

In addition to Pure Pool‘s three main game types, there is also a collection of smaller games called Challenges. They’re Speed Pot, Checkpoint, Perfect Potter, Royal Rumble, Snooker Colors, and Snooker Breakpoint. These challenges can be played individually, but they also make up a part of the Career mode. In Career, you’ll go up against other opponents in 1-on-1 matches of ascending difficulty. The Career is made up of three difficulties for each of the three aforementioned game types. Each difficulty has a series of five tournaments each. With every tournament match, you can earn up to three stars and will need to keep earning starts to unlock more matches. In short, there’s surprisingly a large amount of content for such a relatively simple title.

No matter what kind of match I found myself playing in Pure Pool, they were all pretty fun. While there were moments where the AI would get a leg up on me and perform some shots that seemed unreal, watching their techniques is actually a key I found to getting better. The ball physics are very precise, so having a proper aim and speed control is essential to potting each ball. There are indicators and an aim guide to help with this, but you can also take advantage of alternating between the touchscreen and stick controls. I find the touchscreen useful for more precise shots at close range. Once you feel comfortable enough, you can take your skills online or compete locally with another player. I did not have the ability to test the online functionality though.

Looks good, plays smooth

Pure Pool review Nintendo Switch Ripstone Publishing VooFoo Studios

Pure Pool doesn’t just nail its gameplay, but also its visuals. Whether playing in handheld or docked mode, the game looks absolutely gorgeous with high-fidelity visual effects and crisp textures. The package is brought together nicely with an atmospheric soundtrack consisting of smooth jazz and bossa nova tracks. I actually found the music to be rather immersive, and it even helped me to concentrate better.

Overall, Pure Pool is a relaxing, challenging little sports title that’ll drag you in even if you’re not a heavy pool player. It’s perfectly accessible to anyone who’s new to the sport, but also challenging enough for more advanced players to stay engaged as they strike their way through each match. At only $15, it’s worth the pickup.

Release Date: Nov. 17, 2020

No. of Players: 1-2 players

Category: Sports, Simulation, Multiplayer, Lifestyle

Publisher: Ripstone Publishing

Developer: VooFoo Studios

A review code was provided by the publisher.

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