Pool Nation developed by Cherry Pop Games is now available digitally on PSN and Steam. A physical copy for the PlayStation 4 will be released August 30th via Wired Productions.

Pool Nation is a realistic Pool simulation game that sets out to make it as realistic as possible. From the moment you start up the game a tutorial is provided showing you how to do the basic moves and pull of trick shots. The tutorial is really simple and easy to pick up which make this game accessible to all ages and skill levels. After the tutorial you’re introduced to the main menu that offers a career mode, online mode, endurance, offline vs and extras. The career mode spans many beautiful locations and has you battle it out to earn cash and become the ultimate champion. The cash also lets you buy locations for other game-modes, pool cues, decals for the tables, and different types of balls and other little extras. The range of customisation in Pool Nation is massive, I absolutely loved how I could completely personalise my experience to my taste via earning in game $$$. The career mode offers many options also, from difficulty levels, location of play, type of pool game you want to play and more. The career mode can take a while at times but it never became repetitive or grindy as in the end it was a nice relaxing experience that I really enjoyed. The career feels so realistic but like other simulation games, I could just jump into this after 5 minutes My favourite mode through-out all of the options has to be endurance. You have to pocket the balls before 24 balls respawn on the table, the quicker you do it the better the streak and the points. Again this mode can be customised to your liking and playing it was fun because of the buzz you get after a long streak. It also offers interesting little multipliers that add new graphical effects to the game which just looks stunning. The online play is where things get real, where all the skills you learn along the way come into play against other players. Online, everything runs smoothly so you’re guaranteed a great play-through but how the play-through ends is entirely based on your skill levels, I still have quite a bit to learn on trick shots. Pool Nation just has so much available that it feels like something that will last a long while.

The controls for a PlayStation 4 controller are perfect, each shot you make is easy to pull off and the game runs really smoothly as-well which aids the game in a lot of ways, if the game were to lag or have frame drops, it would get quite frustrating and affect your play-through. While I only ran into a bug or two with the camera, I never experienced anything else or had any problems while playing, it was quite the streamlined experience that goes pretty fast, no extreme loading screens, no lag and overall just a decent experience.

The graphics is a major highlight of Pool Nation. Pool Nation uses the Unreal 4 Engine and by god does it look fantastic. From every thread in the table, the sheen on each ball and the lighting in the environment around it. With a simulation game about Pool, I never felt the outside would matter, as-long as the game-play is nailed I thought playing in a black room would be suitable enough but no, the team at Cherry Pop Games went above and beyond and have created a wonderful and relaxing environment with incredible visuals. The Unreal Engine 4 is used perfectly for the physics, lighting and the really great looking slow mo effects. The sound, while the game-play sounds are fine and don’t really detract from the experience, the music did let it down a little bit for me personally, it’s just not my type of music and it didn’t really gel with me as-well as perhaps it should have. Luckily though I have Spotify which enables me to listen to my own genres of music while chilling out on career mode.

Verdict

Pool Nation is one of the best pool simulation games out there, there is so much to do and so much customisation within the game that it will keep you busy for a long time. It’s also one of the most realistic experiences you can get as well. While I didn’t like the music so much, I had a really great experience, apart from a couple tiny bugs, nothing really detracted from the overall experience. Pool Nation is a game that you can pick up and play and either have a quick session or play for hours the replay-ability is endless.

8.5/10

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