Review: International Snooker (PSN)

international-snooker-review-banner

Title: International Snooker
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1043 MB)
Release Date: March 13, 2013
Publisher: Big Head Games Limited
Developer: Big Head Games Limited
Price:  £9.99 (UK) / €12.99 (EU)
PEGI: 3
International Snooker is also available on PlayStation Vita, PSP, iOS and Android.
The PlayStation Network version was used for this review.

The game of snooker originated from variants of English Billiards (pool) which date back to the early 16th century. The objective is to score more points than your opponent in each frame (game), the winner of the most overall frames wins. The amount of frames is always odd so as to avoid a tie.

Points are built up by potting a red followed by a colour of your choice.  When a coloured ball is potted is it returned to its spot unless all the reds have potted. When all 15 reds (worth 1 point) have been potted, a player must then pot the colours in order of value – lowest first.

Yellow (2), green (3), brown (4), blue (5), pink (6) and black (7).

It is also possible to accumulate points when your opponent fouls. Unless a break begins with a free ball, the maximum score any player can score from one visit to a table is 147. This is only possible if a player pots a black with every red ball. That is all the basics you’d need to know. Being popular on UK TV, watched by up to 16 million viewers, could this console game become a big hit?

Gameplay:
Your options are Career, a quick game or multiplayer. The quick game allows you to play snooker or three variants of pool (US 8-Ball, UK 8-Ball and US 9-Ball) but only after you’ve unlocked them from the shop using credits.

Whenever I got a trophy the game locked up for about four seconds before it shows up. The first time it happened I almost turned off the system thinking it had frozen. There is no fanfare or congratulation screen when you win a match. If you win a tournament, you get an odd looking trophy and some credits for the shop. Now the shop isn’t really a shop so much as a couple of cues and some different chalk.

I even managed to break the game by trying to load a new quick play. I’m struggling to find a redeeming quality with this game.

Visuals:
I have seen better looking PSP games. In fact, it looks like a direct port of the iOS or Android game, down to the evil looking audience with about three frames of animation. There are no players, just a floating cue. It’s such a shame to see a very basic looking game considering its price, especially after playing Hustle Kings which is cross-buy and features a snooker add-on pack. Let’s just say I almost hid the screen away from family, friends & the dog out of sheer embarrassment.

It is a chore to position the camera when you are ‘looking down the cue’ and sometimes the cue gets in the way, that might sound strange but it’s sadly true. Like most cue sport console games, you can play pool. I jumped into a quick game and instantly regretted it. The pockets on the pool table are empty black holes, just like the hall in which your playing in. I’m not even going to bother putting pictures with this review as the phone images are better than the PlayStation versions.

Audio:
Just like the visuals, the audio is basic. It has got the popular Michaela Tabb announcing the scores which is nice. But bear in mind I had what seemed like a full commentary on World Snooker Challenge 2007 which is a PSP game. This is just not good enough. When you do a good pot the evil audience begins to cheer, they continue this as the ball unluckily drops into a pocket. Told you they were evil.

Online/Multiplayer:
Either the online is seriously broken or there is not a single person willing to play over the internet. Late breaking news – having left it on the ‘searching for players’ whilst I finished off this review, a player joined. I quickly started a match and then slowly bowed my head in shame. When the online player adjusts his shot, it looks awful. There is only text chat which fills the corner of the screen and I’m not even sure anyone else can see it.

Conclusion:
Sadly this version is not up the standards I expect. There are better games of snooker in the form of Hustle Kings and even older PSP games (WSC 2007 or 05). Considering the high price point I would look elsewhere or wait until it’s on offer. Please note, this game is free on iOS and the only noticeable difference are the trophies and this game looks worse on a big screen.

I did not get a chance to try the Vita version but having looked at all the information I could find on it, it is the same price as this one and still closely resembles the free iOS game. Steer clear of either of these games.

My reason for giving it three more points than it deserves is simply because it’s not totally broken and the snooker mechanics just about work. Steer clear especially considering its high price.

Score: 
3.0

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook