iOS Universal •
Earlier today we mentioned App Store guru Michael Brough and Cinco Paus arriving for PC/Mac. Let’s talk about the other App Store genius who always seems to hit the nail on the head, Zach Gage. Zach Gage takes the commonplace and turns it on his head. Not only did he tackle that old excuse to drink beer in a boat, fishing, with Ridiculous Fishing, but two examples of applying this mantra to games are Really Bad Chess and FlipFlop Solitaire. The former replaced chess’ rigid rules with utter randomness, while the latter took a dull card game a spiced it up by adding one minor tweak. This week Zach Gage tackled another common game and updated it for the mobile scene, pool. Pocket Run Pool is the result and, like all of Zach Gage’s games, you wonder how no one thought of this before.
The premise of Pocket-Run Pool is the same as every other digital billiards game out there: knock the balls into the pockets. Unlike most billiard simulations, however, the mechanisms here are simplified. You simply aim, then shoot. There’s no english to put on the ball, no spin, and no real way to measure just how hard you’re banging away with your pointy stick. Surprisingly, the game still feels like pool and it’s fun to line up shots and see if you can sink an improbable bank shot or, even harder, that cross-table shot with an ocean of green between the cue ball and its target.
So, what’s the point? Well, you only have four lives. Yes, lives, just like back in the Ms. Pac Man days. Don’t sink a ball, then you lose a life. Lose them all and your game is over. It also adds scoring. Each of the six pockets is labeled with a score multiplier from x1 to x10. Sink a ball into that pocket and you score points based on the number of the sunk ball times the multiplier. To make it interesting, the multipliers rotate around the table. Knock in the 8-ball, however, and the multipliers are randomized. This changes everything. Now you’re looking for daring shots to try and sink balls into that x10 pocket rather than just picking the easiest target.
There are other modes available as well. There’s a tournament mode that lets you compare your score against a leaderboard with everyone starting with the same break. There’s also a High-Stakes mode that lets you gamble with virtual currency. The amount you win (or lose) depends on your final score. You begin with 10,000 in chips and 3 “rebuys” which sets your total back to 10,000. You can also buy more of these “rebuys” or watch an ad to get your virtual wallet back to overflowing. I’m guessing you can also earn more “rebuys”, but I haven’t played around enough to figure that out.
Pocket-Run Pool is free to download and play, with a $4 IAP to unlock the entire shebang. Considering that it’s already hooked me like FlipFlop Solitaire did, $3 seems to be a pretty fair price.