Review: Pool Nation (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Pool Nation
Format: PSN (5.6 GB)
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Cherry Pop Games
Developer: Cherry Pop Games
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US) £15.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI Rating: 3

I loved playing Eight-Ball when I was younger and became quite good at it, so much so that my Uncle gave me his very expensive cue that I cherished for years. I could often be found in a few local pubs and clubs with a cue on one hand and a pint in the other. Then the establishments realized fruit machines earn them more money and cost less to manage and maintain, so the tables began to disappear and I eventually stopped playing.

Gameplay:
This is why I love it when I get to play the classic sport in the comfort of my own home while sat on the couch. Pool Nation features my favorite, Eight-Ball, and the classic Nine-Ball games, with Career modes for each.

There is also a quick Daily Bonus game, which earns a few in-game dollars. The money is used to buy new Tables, Locations, Cues, Decals, and Celebrations. There is more here on offer compared with Cherry Pop Games’ other title, Snooker Nation Championship.

With opponents named Thudd Roundhouse and Ice Bucket, it seems Cherry Pop Games went crazy with the random name generator. My blank silhouetted avatar faced off against some strange names throughout the Career.

Depending on the chosen aim assist and A.I. difficulty, the prize money can vary considerably. The game allows for loads of saves in this mode and doesn’t automatically delete when one has been completed. This is good for jumping back in and replaying some opponents. That is to say, if any were that memorable or different from one another, which sadly they are not.

I did like being able to archive my games for viewing at a later date. This is accessible from the menu, which is quite bland, apart from the attractive lady on the Play and Practice tiles. I would have preferred Cherry Pop made use of one of their stunning locations to display the options. Selecting an Arcade machine to go online, for example.

On two occasions, I broke the game, simply by pressing the Square button for the Free Cam/Zoom. Both times happened during the Career mode and forced me to quit the game and reload the save.

I almost forgot to mention the Endurance Mode, which is good fun for a while. I managed a streak of 96, not sure if that’s any good? As the name suggests, the goal is to keep potting balls with new ones appearing every so often. If too many are on the table, it’s game over.

Visuals:
Pool Nation looks almost identical to the aforementioned Snooker Nation Championship and rightly so. They used the same engine and share some assets. However this game seems to have won in the looks department, with stunning locations and more variety.

The sharks only come out at night (that’s a saying isn’t it?), well the pool sharks definitely come sniffing when the sun sets. See what I did there? Anyway, what my convoluted ramblings were trying to say is that Pool Nation features three times of day for each location.

It would seem the patrons milling about in the background, who couldn’t care less that an amazing hustler is playing mere yards away from them, also don’t care if they’re plunged into darkness.

Audio:
Pool Nation has some good background music that can be turned off altogether if someone would prefer to listen to their own music or the PS Nation podcast, available on all good music streaming services. 😉

Online/Multiplayer:
This game does feature online lobbies for a few different modes, which sadly never have other people in. Unlike the Snooker game, I can’t load up a practice table while I wait so just aimlessly wait with nothing to do.

There is a local versus mode where I can share a controller if I so choose. It allows the players to set their own Aiming Level and Cue.

Conclusion:
Pool Nation is a gorgeous game with one irksome bug. I tend to just avoid using the Free Cam and stick with the Top-Down view by pressing Triangle.

I did enjoy my time with the game but fear the desire to pop back in every so often just isn’t there. Maybe it just became too repetitive playing against soulless computer-controlled players, as the online mode is either constantly empty or broken.

If you enjoy the genre then this could be worth your time but only if you can find some local or online friends to play against, as the Career modes grow boring too quickly for my liking.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

If you send a friend request please add ‘PS Nation’ in the subject area.

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