Pure Pool does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a pool game through and through, and a darn good one at that. Developer VooFoo Studios has wisely restrained from flooding Pure Pool with wacky flourishes and overblown physics, instead focusing on delivering an experience that’s as close to the real deal as you’re likely to get. It’s been on other platforms for a few years now, but if you’re a pool fan, Pure Pool’s release on Switch may still be worth keeping an eye on.
The game’s main draw is its Career mode; here, you’ll go against a number of AI opponents in a kind of tournament-style layout. You can take part in 8-ball, 9-ball, and Snooker events, each of which is split into Amateur, Pro, and Master difficulties. Aside from the main events, you’ll also have additional challenges to take part in, our favourite of which is Killer: you and an opponent will take turns at the table, each starting with 3 lives. If you miss, you lose a life, and if you sink more than one ball at once, you gain a life. It’s a simple premise that’s surprisingly engaging in practice. We could have done with a few more unique challenges, but the handful available are fun enough.
The gameplay itself is pretty straightforward, particularly if you’ve played this kind of game before. You simply move the camera around to aim your cue in whichever direction you see fit. Pulling backwards and forwards on the right analogue stick executes your shot, with a faster motion equating to a more powerful shot. Adding spin to the ball is also really simple, and is quite often the key to winning matches. Much like chess, you’ll need to think several steps ahead, mentally playing out where you think the white ball will end up once you’ve taken your shot. There’s a tutorial to help you get to grips with the mechanics, but the no-frills approach here means it won’t take you long to master the basics.
The stripped-back gameplay is in keeping with the rest of the game, and the experience definitely benefits from this. The menus are basic, but incredibly easy to navigate as a result. Even the visuals, which are crisp and surprisingly realistic, are limited to the essentials; there are no flashy cutscenes, no over-the-top celebratory sequences. It’s just you and the table. We did, however, love how the camera pans through the interior of the social club when you choose to play a game of snooker. We’ve no doubt this is to mask an otherwise static loading screen, but it’s a lovely little touch.
If you enjoy a game of pool every now and then, then you’re going to love Pure Pool. It’s just pool, nothing more and nothing less. Well okay, there’s snooker too, if you absolutely have to have more. There’s plenty to be getting on with here, with unlockable cues, table designs, and more to keep you coming back, and while it’s not exactly the kind of game you’ll want to marathon, it’s definitely one to keep stored in the library for a rainy day.