If anyone caught my Pure Pool review, you’ll see that I enjoy racking up some time with a good game of pool. This year there’s a new contender at the table (pun intended) with Cherry Pop’s Pool Nation FX. Featuring plenty of game modes for both pool and snooker, customization options, and more, those who enjoy billiards will want to grab their sticks and make a break at this title.
As soon as you dive in, you’ll see all of the cool modes you can play. There’s good old fashioned pool with 8-ball US, 8-ball UK, and 9-ball modes along with snooker for you to choose from. As with most pool titles out there, the controls are easy learn but difficult to master. You use the left analog stick to move/aim your pool stick while using the right analog stick to control how much power goes into your shot. To make things even easier here, you can just flick up on the right stick to do a normal, basic powered shot. But to really get the most out of your shots, you’ll want to pull back on the stick to charge up the power meter to a nice level, then flick up to take the shot. There’s also plenty of tricks you can add to your shots, such as spin, bounce, and more that when mastered, will have you playing with the best of them.
Speaking of which, you can play against AI controlled opponents, or play online against others and make your way to the top of the leaderboards. If you’re looking to switch things up, you can also try some of the other modes available here. Endurance mode will put your skills to the test, as you do your best to pocket the balls on the table before reaching the limit of 24 of them, while new ones are constantly added at increasingly faster intervals. There’s a tough career mode where you play a number of qualifying matches to reach the many tournaments you can enter here. The only bad thing is that the wonky AI on your opponents makes this harder than it needs to be, as one moment they’ll play sloppy and make you think you have a chance at winning, but will take you out fast with one perfect shot after another the next. I’m no pool expert (far from it), but playing against rubberband AI really takes the fun (and realism) out of things.
At least everything looks beautiful and moves perfectly here, as the graphics and physics animations are on point. Everything is so vividly detailed, from the fabric stitching of the table felt, the detailed backgrounds with people carrying on conversations, to the reflective polish on the playing balls, this is one gorgeous game to look at it. You can have more fun with this by unlocking different patterns for the table and balls that are quite the feast for the eyes with their exotic colors and details.
If you’re a PC gamer looking for your next pool fix, Pool Nation FX should fill the bill nicely. Despite having some frustrating, rubberband AI-controlled opponents, the beautiful graphics and spot on physics while playing practice rounds by yourself more than outweigh the cons here. You’ll want to do yourself a favor and chalk up your pool stick, rack up the table, and take a break at this title.