Pool has always been a classic game that has shown up on every single platform imaginable, starting from the PC to the PSP, DS, and mobile devices. But pool hasn’t translated very well onto the iPhone and, well, there aren’t many “pool” game choices to choose from. I know that before Pool Pro Online 3, searching for a solid-looking pool game was more than difficult.
But Namco has actually, for once, delivered a surprisingly solid pool experience onto the iPhone. While it’s one with more or less no point, the online play was quite smooth along with sporting some impressive graphics. While I had many issues with their more modern games such as Ridge Racer and Ace Combat, Pool Pro Online 3 has me thinking twice about what Namco can do.
In other words, it’s a game done right.
Graphics: While these aren’t the best graphics for a pool game, they’re good enough to look over and deem as acceptable. There could maybe be some polishing up here and there, but other than that, I thought the graphics were very well done.
You don’t need WiFi: The major problem I have with multiplayer games is the fact that it’s only one thing and one thing only: online. You need some sort of internet connection to play, earn points, etc. But for Pool Pro Online, the single player is enough to keep you busy, and I must say that the single player is almost identical to the online multiplayer.
Controls: Swiping across the screen was quite responsive, aiming was easy to do, and shooting was a cinch. It’s very difficult to mess up pool controls, but hey, I thought the sensitivity was just perfect.
Acceptable online multiplayer: The online multiplayer isn’t great, but it’s acceptable. I would have liked it if it was more of a live atmosphere without having to wait for the player to make a move, send that move into the server, play the sequence on my device, then take my shot. Overall though, the multiplayer was quite smooth.
DLC kept in check: I’m glad to see Namco take steps towards the right direction and realize that delivering a 10 minute game with 20 packs of DLC doesn’t cut it. They controlled themselves in this game with adding just one, very reasonable DLC pack to the game; a move that caught me by surprise but one I was very happy with.
No point: There’s really no point to gain credits, compile points, or even play the game for that matter. New items won’t increase your power shot or your statistics; they only make you look cooler. While I did have fun playing pool whenever I wanted, some people may just find Pool Pro to be a bit too… shallow.
Crash and burn: Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it did happen to me once while trying to connect to multiplayer. The game crashed on me, and I had to restart my device to get the game to start working again. Hasn’t happened to me since, but just thought I’d throw that one out there.
In my opinion, Pool Pro Online is a bit above average, and it’s a solid attempt at pool on the iPhone. I had a few moments of fun with it, and it definitely shows the progress Namco has taken on the iPhone. And above all else, I’m more than glad to see only one DLC item in there; one that is reasonably priced and makes sense. But still, it would have been nice to put some motivation into this game.
Pool Pro Online 3 was developed by Namco, and I played through version 1.0.1 on my iPhone 3GS. The price is $4.99.