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World Championship Pool 2007

Posted by Tania Mirza Monday, October 27, 2008

We're all for pub games becoming professional sports, what with darts, pool and even table football spawning global competitions.

It's only a matter of time before the Olympics accepts 'drinking seven pints of cider before putting AC/DC on the jukebox and headbanging yourself unconscious' as a sport. And when it does, we'll be ready. Oh yes.

Sadly, our patchy pool skills are strictly amateur-grade. Happily, however, I-play's World Championship Pool 2007 makes it possible for us to mix it with the professional potters, although since pro pool is only big on the other side of the Atlantic, we're not exactly well-versed in who they are.

Still, the game lets you play three flavours of pool: 9-ball, 8-ball UK and 8-ball US. A 3D version is coming out soon (we'll review that separately), so this is the viewed-from-above 2D version, which keeps the graphics simple, and offers up quick-fire gameplay instead.
You start by picking a player, with each rated in power, spin and accuracy, so your choice does affect the gameplay. The controls are simple: moving left and right aims your shot (with a sight-line, naturally), before a press of the '5' key brings up a bar to set the power.

You can add spin by pressing '#' before making the shot, too, or change your cue angle by pressing '*' (or combine the two for the sort of swerve-tastic shots that'd earn you a week's free drinks on the house in your local pub).

The thing we like about World Championship Pool 2007 is that it's not too hard. The pockets seem larger than most mobile pool or snooker games we've played, so sinking balls isn't the frustrating holy grail we've seen elsewhere.

The balls clack around the table with a fair degree of realism, too, and the cushions, thankfully, aren't super-springy ??“ another failing we've seen on some mobile pool games.

So it's accessible, but it also offers reasonable depth. Championship mode sees you trying to win a tournament in one of the three pool varieties, while Arcade mixes up standard matches with trick shots and challenges to truly test your skills.

Quibbles? Well, it'd be nice to be able to create your own pool player with your name and preferred mix of abilities. And the Championship mode falls a bit flat when you win, with just a congratulatory message before sending you back to the menu screen.

Also, with pool suiting turn-based pass-the-handset play, it's surprising that there's no multiplayer option (although to be honest, if it was a case of space, we'd rather have decent physics).

We're still big fans of Gameloft's Midnight Pool, which has been out for a while now but just edges World Championship Pool 2007 for pick-up-and-play fun. However, that shouldn't put you off I-play's very decent title ??“ the only thing we'd mention is that if you've got a decent handset, you might want to wait for the all-singing 3D version due in a few weeks' time.


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