Platforms: Google Play Store
Developer/Publisher: HangZhou Mention Network Technology Co., Ltd.
Genre: Sports Platform Played: Android LG G2
In the early days of the internet, online gaming options were not plentiful. My friends and I spent way too much time in the online forums of Yahoo! games, playing Pool, Texas Hold’Em, and other social games to pass the time. When I got the E-mail asking to review Pool Empire, imagine my surprise when I was immediately taken back to when I was 13 or 14 burning the midnight oil to crush my friends online.
Available for free in the Google Play Store, Pool Empire may market itself as “the most real pool game” on the mobile market, but doesn’t quite fulfill its promise. The main issue I kept having with this game is the connectivity issues. Several times throughout my play sessions (seemingly always against someone in a different country), games would either fail out or players would just stop playing and I would wind by default with a perfect score.
While getting a perfect score was cute the first few times, I found it happening so often that the game started to lose its credibility. With the in-game purchase option to spend between $0.99-$89.99 per-item, it should go without saying that connectivity issues shouldn’t even be on the radar. In game purchases offer the best pool cues and abilities available. However, without being 100% sure that I would have a full game against someone, I wouldn’t dare buy anything from this application until it is stabilized. Obviously I can’t speak to the foreign markets and networks, but here in the United States, I had as many issues as I did completed games.
Connectivity issues aside, there is quite a lot to enjoy from this game. There are several challenging game modes that have you play standard billiard rules, hit specific numbered balls in a particular order, and more. This isn’t just a pool game. I was a little surprised at how much content they put into it. When Pool Empire works, it works great. You can communicate with your opponent through chat, emoticons, or voice messages which I do not recall seeing in a mobile game before. I am sure it is out there, but I can’t think of a recent game I played that had that feature. Those communication tools might be the very thing that makes the connectivity so unstable though. The idea of it all is fantastic and I love having the option, but if it is messing with the network it needs to be optimized.
There is an “offline mode” available but the biggest issue I found with that is you get absolutely not experience from it. You only get credit for playing online. “Champion Mode” will help you unlock different traits, outfits, and more to make your character look a little more baller and play a little better, but at the end of the day you are either accurate or you aren’t. I have a pen that is specific to my LG-G2 phone, and that was the best I could do to aim the pool stick at the cue.
Much like the aforementioned Yahoo! game, lining up your shots would give you a display of the direction the cue ball would go, and whatever ball you were aiming at. With a game like this, having an added feature to increase or decrease sensitivity would have done a lot to help different players. There were a couple times I would frustratingly slide my finger back and forth rapidly just to get the pool stick to register, and holy crap was it touchy. The pen I used helped me get exact control on my aim, but without it the game became more of a nuisance than enjoyable time killer.
Overall, there is a lot to enjoy from Pool Empire. I enjoyed taking the trip down memory lane, and while I refuse to put any real money into this device, I am not in any rush to delete it from my phone either. You are sure to find a surprising amount of content in this mobile game, and while I wouldn’t recommend opening your wallet before it gets optimized, it is definitely one worth checking out.
- Nostalgic feel
- Strong rewards system
- Tons to unlock and purchase
- Offline option
- Strong visuals
- Unstable connectivity
- Lack of sensitivity control options
- No reward for offline play
- Never quite sure if your opponent is a bot or person
- Overpriced store content
The Score: 7.0
Devon McCarty was put on this earth to have salon quality hair and get way too excited for video games, movies, and music. You can chat to him on the Analog Addiction Facebook page, follow his daily life on Instagram and Twitter @DesignatedDevon or drop some sweet love in the comment section below.