Features & Use
Way before Android every came along, I used to play pool on my old Nokia and Samsung phones. Although it took a while for pool games to make it to Android phones, they've finally come around to it! Just a while back, I was searching for a good one in the Android Market and Pool Master Pro caught my attention.
Based on the app's description, Pool Master Pro is ostensibly the #1 Android pool game. Obviously, it's hard to say whether that statement is true because there are usually as many opinions as people in a room. But what does the game hold in store? In the main menu you'll find the following categories:
- Single Player: Here you can practice in either 8 or 9 ball mode or take on a challenge.
- VS Mode: Play against the computer or just two player between two people on the same device.
- High Score: Your own score
- Leaderboard: Worldwide high score list
Admittedly, there are only two playing modes to choose from which isn't all that much. But, hey, 8 and 9 ball are the most popular types of pool games so most people should be happy. The single player challenge is also a lot of fun: you have two minutes to clear the whole pool table. You get an extra 15 seconds for every pool ball that makes in the hole. Pool Master Pro doesn't exactly stick to the rules of professional billiards. When playing 8 ball, for example, you don't have to point which pocket a certain ball is destined for. Personally, I don't think that's such a big deal, especially since I never follow that rule when I actually get together and play pool with my friends.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the rules of the game, here's a short overview:
Here you play with 15 colored balls and one white cue ball. The colored balls are divided into whole and stripped balls with a single black eight ball. The first ball that you pocket becomes your own color for the rest of the game. So if you've started with a stripped ball that's how you'll have to continue. Once you've deposited all of your balls, you'll need to finish the game off by getting rid of the eight ball.
With nine-ball, you have to begin with the lowest number on the pool table. After that point, the aim of the game is to sink the number 9.
Both playing modes have obviously been simplified for the player's ease and convenience. The three different difficulty levels are pretty accurate: easy mode is perfect for beginners, normal is a challenge and hard is insanely difficult.
The music is really monotonous and annoying, so I recommend most players to turn it off immediately.
Bottom Line: The two playing modes are simplified, but really well done. The single and multiplayer modes in Pool Master Pro are also great, although online games would be a good addition. The game is a lot of fun is more or less what one would expect from a pool game.
Screen & Controls
Pool Master Pro does a pretty good job in this section, but not without its fair share of drawbacks. Both the menus and game screen are well-organized and user-friendly. At the top of the screen, you'll find your current score and the time remaining time. Control the cue by simply moving it with your finger. For more precision, tap the small cue ball at the bottom of the screen to pick the exact spot where the cue should come in contact with the ball. Finally, adjust the power by sliding your finger down the power bar on the right side of the screen.
The controls are generally speaking very reliable; only the cue stick can be a bit tricky from time to time. Depending the screen's resolution, it can be really difficult to make out the numbers on the pool balls. The graphics are pretty good: the pool balls are displayed in 3D while the table remains 2D. I think that's a pretty good compromise between graphics and user-friendliness.
Things get pretty ugly when the app is played on a tablet because of the low resolution. The graphics become blurry, but the game remains playable.
Speed & Stability
No crashes or stability problems experienced. I did, however, find one thing to be extremely annoying: if you happen to leave Pool Master Pro and then come back to it, you'll have to endure a short loading screen. As other apps have already shown, it's possible to design games without any long loading screens.
Pool Master Pro can be downloaded for free and without any ads from the Android Market.