Doodle Pool Review—All in the Literal Sense
Big Head Games is back after over a year of absence from the Minis scene. Doodle Pool is their latest offering, a pool game using doodle art graphics. Technically, this is a three-in-one game. Good for them—they didn’t try to lure people in with a game title of “3-in-1 Doodle Pools” to pad a pool package with implied extra content that it ought to have in the very first place.
Though I love both doodle art and billiards, there is something wrong with this Mini. Well, at least there is humor in its Achievement system, in which you’ll gain the title Ball Buster if you manage to “pot any ball that belongs to you.” However, the music sucks; that much is definite. I managed to have a review run with music disabled. But, the problem does not lie solely in the music. Take the game’s title in the literal sense: Doodle Pool is just an electronic version of its namesake.
This Mini is so basic that I bet you could find a retro equivalent of this. Doodle Pool could be labeled as a glorified Side Pocket for the SEGA Genesis, minus the glory. It’s totally enjoyable, and the graphics are impressive to the utmost degree, but gameplay is limited.
The controls are somewhat crippling, with the analog nub disabled during game time. Left and Right are used in aiming. X sets the power, and the left shoulder button cancels your shot. Directional buttons move the ball when in hand after fouls. You are given a hint on what balls to hit or where the balls will be going. The former is annoying because it’s ridiculous (no need to remind you if you already know the mechanics of the game), while the latter is good as it does not leave you to play blindly, without breaking the game.
There are three kinds of pool included here: the US 8-ball, US 9-Ball and the UK 8-Ball. And if you need me to explain the rules for each, there’s the rub. See, this game is clearly not for those who are not billiards fanatics. This Mini grows stale immediately if you are not really into it. Instead, this is for the person who wants a pool fix everywhere. The doodle aspect is merely a bonus for a fresher environment.
The AI is competitive, if not cheating. You battle different AI opponents through level progression. You can only face a higher AI once you defeat its predecessor. The AIs have names and avatars to keep you attentive, but that won’t hold much of your precious attention after a few rounds.
There are modes for each pool game. There is two-player hotseat for variety. Time Trial tests how fast you can clear the tables. And yes, there is a high score table, but it is somewhat unsatisfactory; only the highest score per level is listed, and you don’t have a profile. For the entire run, you are known only as Player 1. There is also Shot in the Dark mode. It’s a blindfolded pool game that seems like more of a gimmick than an innovation. Well, from an optimistic viewpoint, it’s an exercise for the memory.
I am disappointed in this game since it gave me simply what is expected. Though that’s not a bad thing, it surely leaves an impression that indeed the game is mediocre. It would have been nice if there were “situational” pool games, like if certain bonuses were given in certain pockets or if there were a prearranged table with only a shot or two to complete it, on top of having a normal pool game. I know it’s asking too much, but Minis of late are getting pretty serious in richness of content.
Well, there is one thing good about Doodle Pool: it confirmed Zombie Racers as a Mini, coming soon.