Pool Break Pro is an immersive, beautiful and highly addictive pool simulator. What makes it so special is that it doesn’t just stop at pool: you can also play snooker, carrom and cronkinole. The game lets you choose between eight different pool game types, three versions of snooker and even three types of carrom! You can additionally select to play on a either rectangular or hexagonal table, and customise the look and feel of the table and the playing environment. If you enjoy cue sports this is just about as detailed and comprehensive as you can get!
Oh, did I mention it’s all in 3D? How about the fact you can compete online against other players? Or even that you can intricately manipulate the game physics however you want? Right, okay, read on and I’ll explain some more…
To call Pool Break Pro just a pool game would be downplaying it significantly. It is all about choice and goes way beyond ‘just’ pool. To begin with, there are either different types of pool alone, including 8-ball, 9-ball, 8-ball (UK), straight pool, one pocket, carom billiards, just place-n-shoot and pool drill. With snooker you can select to play games of regular, 6-reds or 10-reds.
More game-types to choose from than any other game in the Market
With any of these choices you then get to choose whether you play on a regular rectangular table or a hexagonal one. Carrom and Cronkinole are perhaps a little more exotic but still come with different options and table shapes to play on. Pool Break Pro therefore could more appropriately be considered as the ultimate Swiss-army knife of cue sports!
It even lets you play a bracing games of carrom against players from around the globe
Controls are a vital facet of pool and snooker games; if the developers get this gameplay aspect wrong it can ruin an otherwise great game. With Pool Break Pro taking shots is easy and, typically, presents a number of options for the gamer. Straight shooting requires you to carefully drag back the cue to choose power, then sweep from side to side to create angle. You get a white line where the white ball will traverse, and a yellow line for the direction of the hit ball. This makes it relatively easy to pull off some pretty awesome shots.
White line is cue ball trajectory, yellow is struck ball
Aside from basic hitting, you can choose to use a cue rest, add spin to the ball and view the table from any angle using Free View mode. You can also zoom in and out to get better perspective and, when you eventually choose to shoot, there is a bright orange ‘Shoot’ button to go for it. When using spin the white cue ball line is crucial as it will indicate where your ball will end up – important for longer breaks and positioning.
When playing against the computer there is also a choice of skill levels. Rookie and Graduate levels aren’t particularly challenging and you should be able to take on the Experienced level once you are used to the game. Veteran, however, is insane. Playing a game of snooker recently I made just one error and they managed to clear the table. I’m currently only winning about 40-50% of games against Veteran (but I’m getting better!)
All your scores and games are accumulated under ‘My Stats’. This tallies the games you’ve played, won, lost, abandoned and the amount of cash you have won (cash is acquired in-game for every ball potted). This is a pretty good way to follow your own progress (and addiction to the game!)
You can select to play against yourself, against a friend with pass-and-play, or against the computer (‘Droid’). Especially exciting however is the option to play against online competitors. If you make yourself available for it, a blue notification button will alert you to online players wanting a game – press it, and you can find yourself against an online player!
In my experience, online multiplayer games on Android can be pretty stunted and awkward to play, but Pool Break Pro is remarkably slick for this kind of gameplay and retains much of the smoothness of offline play.
There are usually quite a number of online players at any given time and I’ve never had a problem finding a game regardless of the time of day I play the game. Competition quality is very diverse; some players are very good, others are… well, pretty terrible.
Graphics and Physics
If all this choice wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, consider too that the game is in high resolution 3D. Using game controls you can sweep around the table and consider your shots from any angle, zoomed out or up close. This kind of feature adds significantly to how realistic the game feels. You can even toggle and adjust many of the environmental elements that appear in the game, such as shadows, reflections, lighting and scenery.
Detailed 3D graphics
The more you peruse the settings it becomes aware to you that pretty much anything can be tampered with and adjusted. Perhaps most notably for cue sports purists is the ability to tweak the game physics. There are 12 different options here, including trajectory, elastic shooting, sliding friction, rolling friction and coefficient of restitution (whatever that might be!). The level of detail is pretty astounding and perhaps such adjustments might need to be made on a trial and error basis, but it essentially lets you completely control the entire look and feel of the game.
Assorted settings, options and preferences
I have to admit I really enjoy playing pool and snooker games on my phone. Such love of this genre has prompted me to try a slew of different titles – endeavouring to find the best. For a while I was very taken with Pool Bar HD which features polished graphics and had that pick-up-and-play factor that makes games both casual and engrossing. Despite this it significantly lacked much in the way of options; you could only play against 4 virtual characters and even the higher difficulty setting wasn’t very challenging after a bit of practice.
I was posting about my adoration of Pool Bar HD on Google Plus when one of my circled friends suggested I try Pool Break Pro. I can honestly say I haven’t looked back. For the sake of this review I tried Pool Bar HD again and it felt very clunky in comparison. There are quite a number of other pool games available in the Market but most often these are either counter-intuitive to use or have lousy graphics. Pool Break Pro sets the quality bar very high indeed and other games, even ones I was previously addicted to, now seem all the more flawed in comparison.
Extremely rich in both graphics and varied gameplay preferences, Pool Break Pro is head and shoulders above other Market games
I would love to see Pool Break Pro include tournaments, both online and single player. I wish the stats you accumulate would be more reflective of the skill levels you were playing against in addition to online games. To be fair, these are only minor enhancements I’d personally like to see in the game, rather than actual problems with it.
In my experience, Pool Break Pro is the most complete cue sports game currently available on the Android Market. Rich with options, settings, and choices, it stands out as being incredibly comprehensive even for pool purists who would demand accurate physics and varied gameplay options. Add to this the online multi-player element and utterly superb 3D graphics and it’s hard to argue there is currently a better pool game in terms of features and playability. If you enjoy pool games on your device, definitely give this a look. There is a Lite version of the game, so give it a go!