Brunswick, according to their website is, “the most trusted name in pool tables and game room furniture since 1845″. They are a long standing name in billiards. Another company that has a similar reputation (although not quite as extensive) is EA. The two companies converge (I hope it is a Brunswick) on the iDevice platform in the shape of Anytime Pool. It has all the polish that you would expect from the company, but does it deliver on other gaming elements to form a truly great pool game?
Anytime Pool, like all other EA iDevice games has a certain level of polish that is easy to appreciate given the plethora of other Apps that lack this. It does an amazing job translating the fullness of pool in the limited visual space of your iPhone or iTouch. All this is translated with slick graphics that have yet to stutter or stall. The transitions between setting up the shot, to seeing the balls travel around the table is done without any lag. The background is also varied enough and contains some nice details. While these things don’t do much to enhance the gameplay itself, they do enhance the general ambiance of the game.
One gameplay aspect that separates a decent pool game from a great one is in its control mechanism. While there are many minute variations that can be used, I find that there are two major categories. One is a realtime control scheme that has you pulling back and flicking forward to make the shots. The other; and this is the one Anytime Pool uses, is where the player predefines the angle, power, and placement and then presses a button to hit the cue ball. While both these control schemes have their pros and cons, Anytime Pool does a great job with the scheme it follows. You have full control over the power, angle, and can decide to put some ‘English’ on your shot. I believe that some people may like one control scheme over another, so please be aware of your own preference when you consider purchasing this game.
The single gameplay aspect that separates Anytime Pool from other pool games is in the sense of progression that it’s various options presents. Many sports games lack any sense of progression. You play a couple rounds of the game, get bored, and that is it. Anytime Pool has two single player modes (World Tour and Challenge) that have a variety of stages to unlock. While this may not seem like much, it does give players certain goals to accomplish which can add to the longevity of the game and inhibit a feeling of “been there done that.” I will concede that once you finish these unlockables, Anytime Pool becomes just another pool game.
The question remains, do the graphics, control scheme, Facebook integration, and unlockables make this a truly great pool game? I think that it depends on whether you like the control scheme and pool in general. There is enough variation and unlockables to justify the price, but if this control scheme isn’t for you, then Anytime Pool isn’t for you.
|Title:||Anytime Pool (v 1.0.3)||Developer:||Electronic Arts|
|Price:||$4.99||App Size:||29.7 MB|