I had a chance to check out Pure Pool at E3 2014, and it looks to provide a slick game of billiards for PC, Xbox One and PS4. It certainly seems like it won't be lacking for features either, as it's got all sorts of career options, challenges, online hooks and even downloadable profiles (much like Forza 5's “drivatars”). The game comes from VooFoo Studios, developers of Hustle Kings, as well as publisher Ripstone.
The first thing I noticed was how well the game plays, as it's super intuitive to pick up a controller and get playing. You basically pull back on the right stick for power and push forward to take the shot, and there was a real tactile sense of weight and momentum on the shot stick. It was easy to add a bit of spin or “English” when needed, and the ability to hit the ball exactly where I wanted felt great. There was a guide line to show how the cue ball and target would go after the shot, but these got less precise the further away I got from the target ball, which seemed like a good compromise. It's also possible to turn off the guides completely, which will suit many purists, I'm sure. Still, as it was set on default, the game felt super breezy and enjoyable, and I was totally in control of what I was doing.
Pure Pool looks great as well, with beautifully detailed table felt (that can get chalk marks on it) and photo-realistic billiard balls. Even the background felt a lot more alive than in other billiard/poker/dart games, with a room that had some hustle and bustle. There is a neat little trick the game pulls when you're going for the eight ball, as the lights dim and focus on the shot. It looks like the focus mode from the underrated Table Tennis from Rockstar Games. The physics feel accurate to real-life billiards, with appropriate caroms and kisses off balls and some satisfying bounces off the rails. It's also worth nothing that the camera angle gets the action right down on the table, and it totally works. There isn't the detachment of top-down billiards, as has been the case in previous titles.
There seems to be a reasonable number of game types to play, including 8-ball, 9-ball and several other novelty variants. There are computer-controlled characters that have specific tendencies to play against, and there are a whole host of career tournaments and challenges to try and unlock. All of this is presented with a simple UI that pops out from the side of the screen, and it's really easy to change what you want to do on the fly. The minimalist nature of everything focuses the action on the pool while keeping everything looking classy.
There looks to be a whole host of multiplayer options in Pure Pool, including local multiplayer, online head-to-head multiplayer and downloadable “DNA” profiles that mimic the ways your friends play when they aren't around. The profiles concept sounds quite interesting, as it will track your play style and tendencies but also fun stuff like whether you choose high ball or low ball (stripes or solids).
In talking to the developers of the game, it's clear they have a passion for making a good product. From what I was able to play, this looks like a fun downloadable that will provide a rock-solid billiards experience that also has legs. If they hit their goal price point of $10, I think it will be a strong proposition on any of the available platforms.