Snooker and pool games have come and gone over the years, but rarely has any one managed to keep players honing their skills for too long. For all the neon glows and challenge that is found within, Cyber Pool is another of those games. Unfortunately, this one is lacking even more than most. 

It’s simple really – give the player a rectangular piece of baize, drop some balls onto it and task them with clearing things as quickly, and as easily, as they can. That’s standard pool right there and it’s something we’ve done time and time again with the likes of Pure Pool. To give Cyber Pool some credit, it mixes that usual idea up nicely, but even with the best intentions, it then fails considerably. 

cyber pool review 1

Cyber Pool provides no less than six different game modes, but unless you’re able to drag in a local based mate for a few frames, the solo player is limited to just half of those. 

It’s the Normal mode which is seen as the main play point, mostly as it’s at the top of the menu which is front and centre as you load in to Cyber Pool – it’s also where the easy Gamerscore and achievement gathering is found. This asks you to work your way through forty tables, potting all balls as you see fit. 

You do this by aiming the cue ball in the general direction of a coloured ball, lining up a single aiming line as best you can, and attempting to hold the A button to dictate the power in that shot. The problem is, moving the aim is slow, there is no fine adjustment, the line is too short to really ever help and the press of the shot button can be a bit hit and miss – combined, that’s a major fail. Far too many times we have double pressed that A button as the initial push has failed to register, only for the shot power to play out as minimally as can be.

It’s tricky to ever get a feel for the shots you are playing in Cyber Pool, with this frustration amplified by the lack of decent hit boxes. We’ve found that navigating past corners of the uniquely designed tables to be a right ballache, with balls clipping cushions even though it seems like they should be able to roll through regardless. 

There’s a lot of this too, mostly as hardly a single stage in Cyber Pool gives you a normal table to play on. Instead they come in a variety of dimensions, different shapes and with a multitude of ideas; multiple obstacles and table ‘features’ ramping up the difficulty. Whatever table you are on though, you are basically left to chase the balls around, hoping and praying that they land in the pockets sooner rather than later. 

cyber pool review 2

Thankfully the physics of balls seems to work well and when they do hit cushions, they at least bounce around the table as you’d expect. It’s just you never really know which of the cushions they are likely to hit and with a lack of spin being able to be initiated, straight lines are all you’re left to play with. 

That Normal mode tasks you with potting balls as fast, or as slowly, as you wish, with an unlimited number of shots available – it’s not long before that becomes ever-so-tiresome. As long as you don’t pot the cue ball, it’s pretty much impossible to fail a level.

Complete a stage and the next will unlock, with progress here also rolling down to unlock stages in the secondary Classic mode. This works exactly the same as before, yet you are limited in shots. Miss a pot and you’ll lose a notch on the three shots which you are allowed. Pot a ball and you can replenish that lost shot. It’s quite a decent little system that brings a ton more challenge to Cyber Pool. Does it make it more fun? Minimally, yes, but with the mechanical issues that afflict Cyber Pool, that enjoyment rarely lasts. 

From there, the other solo mode is Challenge. This mixes things up slightly, giving you unlimited shots but the need to pot the balls in numerical order. Picking a starting line up of three to six balls on the table at any one time will dictate how tricky this mode becomes, as will the number of rounds you are looking to play, but ultimately, yet again, this just boils down to navigating your cue ball around maze-like levels. Those unlimited shots mean there is rarely any pressure or intensity delivered. 

And then we have the multiplayer options – Cooperation, Race and Battle. There are no online capabilities here and so you’ll be left to try and tempt a sofa-based family member or friend to the table. Should you be able to, then each of these works as the name suggests. Cooperation lets you work together with others in ball potting, the winner of Race is the one who pots their balls first, whilst Battle plays out over numerous rounds – pot the most balls in those rounds and you can be declared Cyber Pool champ. 

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That’s pretty much the sum of Cyber Pool – six game modes that all play pretty much alike, with the USP being nothing more than the requirement to pot balls across uniquely glowing tables.  

The problem is, that uniqueness fails to make up for the shortcomings and it doesn’t take long for boredom and frustration to kick in. Perhaps the glorious neon glow that Cyber Pool utilises visually will be enough to entertain some in the short term, but at the end of the day the whole thing falls flat, fast.

Cyber Pool excels in the table types, but fails with inconsistent gameplay and dodgy hit detection. When the main draw of pool is that of a game which focuses massively on how collisions play out, it’s something that is immediately placed on the back foot. Cyber Pool is one for the very hardcore pool players only – and even then it’s likely to annoy much more than be able to deliver any real potting pleasure. 

Cyber Pool is available from the Xbox Store

Snooker and pool games have come and gone over the years, but rarely has any one managed to keep players honing their skills for too long. For all the neon glows and challenge that is found within, Cyber Pool is another of those games. Unfortunately, this one is lacking even more than most.  It's simple really - give the player a rectangular piece of baize, drop some balls onto it and task them with clearing things as quickly, and as easily, as they can. That’s standard pool right there and it’s something we’ve done time and time again with the…

Pros:

  • Tables designs are nice
  • Neon glow visuals work well

Cons:

  • Hit detection is dodgy
  • Game modes rarely mix things up
  • A lack of consistency

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Revulo Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
  • Version reviewed - Xbox One on Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 28 Apr 2022
  • Launch price from - £4.19
TXH Score

2/5

Pros:

  • Tables designs are nice
  • Neon glow visuals work well

Cons:

  • Hit detection is dodgy
  • Game modes rarely mix things up
  • A lack of consistency

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Revulo Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
  • Version reviewed - Xbox One on Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 28 Apr 2022
  • Launch price from - £4.19

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