International Snooker Review – Basic Snooker Sim

international-snooker-1Snooker is a pub game which is particularly popular in the UK. I’m no expert on it but I think it’s similar to other games such as pool and billiards. It’s always been a fairly difficult sport to jazz up or make exciting to the non-enthusiast, and International Snooker certainly appears to take the most basic approach possible, keeping it strictly all about the core gameplay.

Thankfully you don’t  have to be too familiar with the rules of snooker to enjoy the game, as the CPU always shows you what to do next, although the Help section also covers the rules and controls in a very thorough and in-depth manor if you want to give yourself a crash course.

Your main aim in the game is to ‘pot’ the different coloured balls, meaning to sink them into one of the six pockets on the snooker table by hitting them with the white cueball. It doesn’t matter which pocket you pot the ball in, but it does matter which colour ball you pot.

The next colour you have to pot is show in the bottom left of the screen. On those occasions when you can pot any colour, the indicator ball will rapidly cycle through all available colours.

Different colours are worth different points, and these are also detailed in the Help section. If you pot the wrong colour, or even worse, pot the cueball, it’s deemed a foul, and penalty points will be awarded to your opponent.

For as long as you keep sinking the correct ball, you’ll have the table all to yourself while your opponent watches helplessly as you rack up the points. This is the most satisfying part of the game, and it’s really a blast when you’re on a winning streak and seeing all those balls hitting the pockets!

In theory, you can keep going until you pot all of the balls on the table and win the game, in practice though, you’ll eventually miss a shot, and then your opponent gets control of the table until they fail to pot a ball or pot the wrong one.

As far as the controls go, it’s all very easy. You use the left/right directional buttons to change the direction of the shot, and the analog stick to adjust the cueball spin. You can also press the up/down directional buttons to zoom in and out from the table, and press square for a top-down view of the full table.

international-snooker-2The precision and power of your shot is very important in snooker, similar to when attempting to sink a putt in golf. This is where the L and R buttons come in, as they control the power of your shot. Press R to increase the power and L to decrease it, according to the gauge on the right.

To further aid aiming, you can also toggle the ball guides on or off via the Options menu. Using the guides makes playing the game a lot easier as you can see the exact trajectory of the ball when you’re lining up a shot.

When you’ve done all you can to correctly line up your shot and adjust the power to your liking, press X to take the shot and sit back and watch as the ball hopefully finds the pocket with a satisfying ‘clack’.

The available game modes include a Tournament mode where you play against a progression of fictional players with names designed to sound a bit like famous snooker players, a one game single-player mode, and a hot seat pass-and-play two-player mode where you can go up  against a real live friend rather than a computer.

As far as positives go, the gameplay is certainly enjoyable, the ball physics work really well, and the skill level of your AI opponent is pitched just right. They make as many mistakes as you do, just like a real life player would, so it feels more realistic.

With all that said, International Snooker falls short of being a really great mini by being somewhat dull in terms of presentation. Sometimes when you want to zoom the camera out to line up your shot, it fails to reach the end of the table, which can be frustrating.

There’s also no sense of atmosphere whatsoever, not even any clapping from the crowd, or anything else to make you feel like you’re participating in a tournament.

If you’re looking for a totally basic snooker game then International Snooker is a solid, if unspectacular, purchase. I can’t see anyone other than snooker fans playing it for more than a few days though.

Score:  5.5/10

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4 Responses to “International Snooker Review – Basic Snooker Sim”
  1. djax says:

    I bought this game, but it waste of money :-( , terrible camera and terrible controls :-( .

  2. richufc says:

    I love this game! Its pretty basic in terms of options etc but actually plays a pretty decent game of snooker. Has kept me entertained for a fair few hours anyway – 2nd best mini so far behind Blast Off.

    PS. It probably does help if you like snooker though!

  3. Derek says:

    This game is excellent. Looks just like watching Snooker on the BBC! The controls are nice, the AI is hard in the later stages which means I’ll be playing it for a good while. This is also a full 3d game which is nice considering you could easily expect a minis snooker/pool game to be in 2d.

  4. cmo77 says:

    good game. very simlar to all other snooker games.

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