Go back to Pool Paradise

Written by: Rik

Date posted: November 27, 2011

Even I couldn’t miss this one.

In case it isn’t obvious from the main review, in real life I’m pretty bad at pool, and on the rare occasions that I’m challenged to a game, I usually refuse to save myself embarrassment. Sometimes I can be persuaded, especially if my protestations are waved away with cheerful reassurances from my opponent that he/she is also rubbish, but more often than not once the match is underway, that very same person will look at me in disbelief and exclaim, “Christ! You really are rubbish, aren’t you?”

While a game like this spares you on basic errors of execution (mis-hits, accidentally touching the cue ball with your hand, ripping the baize open with your cue) that you might otherwise make in a non-virtual scenario, allowing you to concentrate on the business at hand, it doesn’t seem to give you much help when it comes to adding the finesse and tactical awareness necessary to be successful.

In Pool Paradise, even as I made fairly reasonable progress up the ladder, the contrast between my opponents’ silky-smooth shots (each accompanied by a gentle knock-click of cues and balls) and my own (guilelessly thunking at the nearest potable ball with little thought for the consequences) became more and more apparent. I could hold my own for a little while, but eventually there comes a point when you’re out of your depth and without the tools or knowledge to develop your game.

Your unlikely opponents include a fox and a monkey. The latter’s name is ‘Monkey Mage’, a name change from the previous game’s ‘Hairy Potter’, presumably due to potential legal complications.

So, I can’t really make much of an assessment on how good the AI players are at the higher levels, except for saying that they’re good enough to deal with the likes of me fairly ruthlessly. From what I did experience, your initial opponents are terrible, and as you progress they become noticeably more proficient and consistent. Mid-range players pull off impressive shots that would be beyond you, but then often let you back into the game with one or two howling errors. Eventually, the better opponents stop making these errors and you end up losing.

While the manual helpfully outlines all the different rules for you (although that’s a fat lot of good if you buy the budget release and don’t have a printer – I had to resort to squinting at Wikipedia on my phone) there’s little guidance about how to actually play the game. An in-game tutorial on both the basics and the more advanced stuff would have been quite a good idea, I think.