Pure Pool is as pure as the name suggests. Transporting players to virtually perfect table of the perfect pub game hence the name. Voofoo Studios has recreated of the traditional public house past time and slotted it nicely amongst greats such as Hustle Kings on both PC and PlayStation 4. Sporting photo realistic graphics and true to life controls and 40 hours of game play in its extensive career mode, Pure Pool definitely holds its own in the harsh environment of video games, but is as realistic as the developers say? Is it worth your time or are you best off going to your local?
Pure Pool’s career mode pits you against a string of computer controlled opponents in a variety of matches one after the other. Beating each opponent awards up to three stars depending on whether you actually beat the opponent effortlessly and without fault or beating them in creative fashion such as only potting in the corner pockets or potting a few on the break. Each match feels different due to the difference in the computer opponent’s skill levels. Some being a walkover and some offering you being wiped out from one single error on your part. It’s this gradual increase in difficulty that truly test your mettle against the computer and definitely keeps things interesting making you’re really think about your next shot as it could be your last whereas the beginning easy opponents allow some warm up rounds. Whilst playing through Pure Pool, you can unlock accolades which are triggered by trick shots or certain shot criteria, these award extra XP which goes toward your notoriety online making you look more of a formidable opponent. In between matches, the career mixes it up a little by stick you in challenge matches which tests your potting precision or time trial type matches amongst others, these award extra stars which help you move forward.
Outside of career mode, there are your traditional Free Play, Practice and Tutorial modes which are pretty self-explanatory. The other half of the meat of Pure Pool is its excellent online mode where you can go up against real opponents that are significantly better than the computer. Finding opponents are easy as Pure Pools matchmaking mechanic is superb meaning you won’t be waiting long before jumping straight into a match. Each match plays similarly to the main game except you have that added satisfaction knowing you’re up against another human.
The game play is fantastic. The mouse is used to aim the cue as your viewpoint is from the first person perspective, holding the left button allows fine tuning your aim and adds angle and spin and the right button allows for the shot with the power depending on how far you pull back on the mouse and how quickly you push it forward. These controls add a nice degree of realism as it reflects how you take a shot in real life. With all pool and snooker games, there is an aim assist in the form of a short line which differs in width when the cue ball is going to hit the target ball at different places, for example if you make the cue ball hit the target ball to the left of centre, then the aim assist on the target ball will be wider meaning you will have to judge where the target ball is going to go. This feature means no hand holding and no aim assist lines littering the table which in turn blocks the lovely visuals.
Speaking of visuals, Pure Pool is easily one of the best looking pool simulators out there. Each ball has a realistic sheen to them and the tables canvas texture can be easily seen, it’s a nice touch. The final shot of each match adds a slow motion cinematic which shows the cue striking the cue ball for the last time. The stylish touch is a satisfying sight as not only does it mark the winning shot but it also shows the chalk dust flies off from the point of impact. Each table and the environment around it look beautifully authentic with an ideal soundtrack of your choice. Even though Pure Pool is one of the best looking pool games, it doesn’t require a hefty rig thankfully making it accessible to more players.
Pure Pool is one of the best pool sims I’ve ever played. Where it lacks in substance, it makes up for in looks and gameplay. The career mode is addictive as star hunting becomes number one priority and the fantastic online mode is lag free and satisfying, unless you’re getting beat. Pure Pool is a near perfect recreation of one of the most played pub sports. Well worth your time.
Story - 3/5
Graphics - 5/5
Gameplay - 5/5
Overall - 5/5
Version reviewed - PC