8 Ball Pool
It was only when we saw 8 Ball Pool rising up the App Store charts that we realized what a shocking absence a decent mobile pool game has been in recent years. With a focus on strategy, planning and preparation over execution, the tactile nature of touchscreens seem custom made for the sport.
Miniclip's take on the bar-room game is executed about as well as you could hope for. As you pivot your cue around to select your shot, light contact and recoil angles are displayed, allowing you to both plan your current shot and prepare for the next. The finishing touch is added to your shot thanks to a slideable power meter.
You can add finer touches, such as greater power, additional spin, or more detailed angular guides but these power-ups are awarded only occasionally for leveling up, and you'll have to head to the in-app purchase store if you wish to make use of more. Fun though the game is, it's hard to ignore the fact that there's a certain pay-to-win element at work here, so serious competitors may be a little put off - especially as the game is a premium download from the start.
Increasing in level also allows you to access tables with higher stakes, so while you'll start off competing on the basic tables for a 25 coin gamble, you'll eventually unlock higher profile venues where the stakes are considerably higher. That the game makes little effort to pair you up with opponents of equal level and experience means you'll probably want to hang around the low-value table for some time before laying down serious coin in the high-pressure Vegas match-ups.
The shot-enhancing IAPs - not to mention the expensive cosmetic cue upgrades - of 8 Ball Pool may be a little off-putting, but this is still a fun throwaway arcade game nevertheless. The ball and table physics are outstanding, there's plenty of variety in the tables, and match-making is swift and plentiful. Our advice for serious contenders? Play against Facebook friends who you can depend on to take a gentlemanly approach to proceedings.
What's Hot:Great pool physics, swift matchmaking and some high-pressure gameplay.
What's Not:IAPs take the shine off things a little, particularly as this is already a premium game.