Billiards. The gentleman’s sport. It’s played all over the world. It takes patience, skill, and planned tactics to succeed in the game. Practically everyone knows the game itself and now, you can take it on the road with you in the form of Pool Hall Pro for the PSP.
You create your own pool player to take on the ranks of the pool hall’s best. There’s not too many options as far as customizing your characters go. You can choose from about 8 faces as well as clothing, accessories and your name. Granted, you won’t be seeing much of your character during the game.
The game has many modes of play. There’s training, exhibition mode, arcade mode, and tournament mode. Exhibition is just a quick play where you can choose what type of game to play. Arcade has you travelling the globe playing against other pool hall pros. Tournament mode is where you play multiple games and score points in the ranks until the best players are left. Most of your play time will be in Arcade and Tournament mode.
The game offers up a ton of game types. There’s US 8 ball, 9 ball, Snooker, and many more. I found that if you’re not too familiar with the more exotic game types, the game will help you out a bit on what to do next. The training mode is helpful both for learning how to play the game and understanding the game types.
During play, you can aim where you want to hit the ball and from what location around the table. By holding X and tilting the control stick back, you can adjust the power of your shot. Tapping circle will allow you to adjust where you wish to hit the cue ball itself just in case you want to “put a little English on it.”
The game looks rather good during game play. The environments are drab, but the table physics and pool balls themselves look really good on the PSP. After winning some games, you unlock new items and decorations for your personal pool room. It’s nothing fancy, but it does give you something to do.
One thing I do have to mention: the music will get on your last nerve. The same song will loop over and over until the game is done. The problem is, some games can last up to 15 minutes, so after the song loops 4 times, you’re ready to throw your PSP.
The biggest problem I had with the game was the opponent AI itself. There were some games where the opponent would break the rack, and keep sinking balls until he won, not even letting me get a single shot in. It becomes brutal later on in the arcade mode.
Pool Hall Pro does have 4-player multiplayer, but to be honest, I have no idea if it is AdHoc only or allows for infrastructure play. Either way, I started a multiplayer game and waited for others to join. No one ever did.
Pool Hall Pro is exactly what the title suggests. It’s a pool game, and a good one at that. The game play itself is solid and works very well on the PSP. I do have to say, if you’re interested in this title, you really need to be into pool. There are a good amount of modes and a ton of game types to play. For an on-the-go Billiards game, it’s actually really good. Just be ready to take on some difficult competition.
Review copy provided by publisher.