Monday, February 16, 2009

iPhone Game Review: Pool Rebel (poket pool)

Are you a pool hustler? Do you love to stand around a felt-topped table, beer in one hand, a large stick in another, trying to tap balls into pockets? Do you want a game of pool for the iPhone that ACTUALLY uses real physics? If so, then this pocket-pool application for your phone is right up your alley.

Pool Rebel is an application that offers a wide variety of pool games for your phone. With this application, you are finally able to play true pocket-pool, with real physics, real sound, and amazing control of the smallest of details. The application is also a real beauty to look at, as it has true vibrant colors, good detail, and amazingly quick animation. The game also features a tutorial for those of you who need some help controlling sticks and balls with your fingers. You can get all of this, plus the rules of each game, for $7.99.

Pool Rebel has many nice extras and features that differentiates it from the other pool applications for your iPhone and iPod Touch. The interface works well, the motions are smooth, and the gameplay is amazing. No matter how picky or eccentric you are, you can customize the game to your liking. Play one of five different games, either against the CPU or against your friend. Set the CPU for an easy win, or make them a pro and try your best to beat them. You can chose one of 12 different colors to make up the felt top of the table. Pool Rebel is perfect for those who want to customize a game to their taste. No matter how you alter it, the game still works well and looks amazing. The graphics are still picture perfect each and every frame, no matter how fast the balls are moving.

Pool Rebel also offers the most accurate pool game, from the table and the set-up, to the physics used in the game, of any game I have seen for the iPhone. Let Nikos Konstas, the programmer, tell you more about that:
“[T]he main feature of the game is realism. For example the table is drawn exactly as specified in the rulebooks, the ball sizes are correct, the pocket are as they should be, etc. The physics are also pretty good - balls roll & slide as they do on a normal table. It[‘s] funny how many things I realized about pool & physics by writing this game.”
Konstas is telling you the truth when he says this; the physics are perfect and precise and the game plays just as it should. Any true hustler will be able to play exactly like they would on a real table (without any dust or dirt, of course) provided that he or she can use the controls well.

Speaking of the controls, the playing of Pool Rebel is a little hard to get used to at first. My fingers, which are quite fat and large, had a hard time controlling the angles and ball placement as well as I wanted them to. Even Konstas agreed:
“[T]he controls take a while to master. However, once you figure out how to play it becomes quite easy.”
Once again, he is correct. The controls do become much, much easier to handle once you play the game for a while. Plus, he included (after requests) a small joy pad that helps you out. Additionally, you are able to move the controls by simply tilting your iPhone — how cool is that? So, while the controls are sticky at first, they become much easier with use.

My only other concern is in the pricing of the application. I am normally a penny pincher when it comes to my applications and Pool Rebel, at $7.99, is a bit outside of my normal price range; however, I do believe that you get what you pay for. I think that the game is a great game, and well done. It is polished to perfection, and thus is a nice investment. But, I still am a little stuck on the $7.99 price tag. To me, Pool Rebel would be a perfect steal at $5.99. But, hey, money is different to each person.

Overall, I felt that Pool Rebel was a good product and a well polished application. While there are a few areas that I was concerned with such as the price, the overall game is amazing. Plus, the developer is planning on updating often and is currently thinking of incorporating an online play mode (which will be cross-platform) and offering a lite version of the game. The price tag is really the only thing holding Pool Rebel back, and I think that the lite version will fix this problem. Thus, I give the current version of Pool Rebel four out of five stars.

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