Pure Pool on the PlayStation 4 is the closest you can get to playing a game of pool in bar without leaving the house.
You’d think that having photo-real pool balls and a table so detailed that you can see the weave of the baize would be enough.
Whilst you are concentrating on potting balls all around you and just out of focus, real-looking people are chatting, getting drinks at the bar and generally milling about. The pool club atmosphere in Pure Pool is 100% spot on. All that’s missing is the smell of stale beer.
But what about the game?
Well, it follows the standard pool-game mechanics that have been employed since the dawn of pool video games. This is hardly surprising, really, as developer VooFoo Studios were also responsible for the PlayStation 3’s marvelous Hustle Kings.
Basically, you use the left stick on the PS4 controller to line up your shot and the right one to take it. As well as adjusting aim you can raise the end of your cue to do a trick shot or – more likely – have your ball shoot off the table. You can also add a bit of spin.
Pure Pool allows you to hit the ball any way you can in real life with realistic physics to match.
As you aim the white ball, you can see a white directional marker in front of it. As you target a ball, the path of that ball that is indicated by a yellow marker. Whilst you can free-look around the table, this visual aid helps to compensate for the lack of depth perception that you’d see in real life.
You can play with a number of different pool rules. Selecting quick game from the main menu gives you a number of options: US 8-Ball, 9 Ball, Killer and Accumulator. Choose one and the game will go out a match you with another player online. It’s as easy as that.
The game allows players to form their own leagues, making the game the ultimate in couch tournaments. There’s also a number of challenges that’ll put even the best armchair pool players’ potting skills to the test.
The career mode offers up a series of tournaments across different pool rule types and challenges. As you progress more tournament options unlock.
Players can also practice offline with a number of console-controlled opponents of varying ability. Also, similar to Forza 5’s Drivatars, Pure Pool records the play-style of other players to create virtual opponents for you to challenge off-line. They could be strangers, your friends, or the game’s developers, themselves.
Pure Pool is a fantastic-looking game that accurately reproduces a great game of pool on the PS4. It is a bit no-frills, but it does what it says on the tin and does it very well. Personally I’d have like to have seen snooker as an option, but you can’t have it all. As it is, the game offers loads of game modes and some great replay value.
If you want a challenging, but relaxing game for your PlayStation 4, Pure Pool is definitely an option that you should consider.