Pool is snooker’s inebriated cousin. Instead of expensive waistcoats and polished balls, you get stale beer, table surfaces that look like they’ve been attacked by Wolverine, and losing your bus fare to a bad bet made with a hustler.
On the small screen, things aren’t much better: unless you’re a natural maths whiz, playing against a computer opponent is like taking on god. Hence the need for Zach Gage’s Pocket Run Pool – a new type of pool for the mobile gamer on the go.
What is it, then?
Pool meets puzzling, with simplified one-thumb controls. You still sink balls, but your points tally depends on a ball’s number and the multiplier on the pocket you sink it in. Multipliers move every turn, forcing you to think ahead – or try for crazy trick shots.
Beyond the basic mode, there’s Break of the Week (pre-arranged balls), Insta-Tournament (one attempt to set a high score, thereafter compared against the world), and High Stakes. That last one has you bet tokens and spin a wheel to modify your game, adding a time limit, table numbers, or balls that unsportingly change size.
If you don’t realise this is a puzzle game with pool overtones, you might grumble about the lack of spin and such-like. Although that’s missing the point, given that the game is hardly a simulation – it even shows precisely where your shot will hit a ball, and in which direction that ball will subsequently travel.
Also, High Stakes has a minor whiff of IAP, since rebuys cost money; that said, you can get a freebie by watching an ad, or infinite buy-ins for a few bucks.
The main downside, then, is that Pocket Run Pool will mercilessly chew through your free time.