Featuring a host of likable characters, Midnight Pool is the best game of billiards available on the mobile platform.
- Great graphical style
- Excellent MIDI version of
- You get to attempt a trick shot after every round.
- Stylistic theme is a bit confused
- The shot guide might feel a bit like cheating.
Midnight Pool is a pool game that uses the same nightclub motif seen in last year's Block Breaker Deluxe. Unsurprisingly, pool is a much better fit for this nightlife theme than Arkanoid. Midnight Pool is reminiscent of Data East's Side Pocket games, both stylistically and qualitatively. Featuring a host of likable characters, Midnight Pool is the best game of billiards available on the mobile platform.
When you load Midnight Pool, you'll be treated to an impeccable polyphonic MIDI version of "Sweet Home Alabama." This is incontrovertibly a sweet track, but it's probably not a great fit thematically. Only one of Midnight Pool's characters really fits Lynrd Skynrd's down-home tune: a bombastic sheriff with a ten-gallon hat. The others range from a Franco-African ladies' man, complete with offset beret, to a compulsive gambler with (presumably) rapidly graying hair. All are drawn in the manga-inspired style for which Gameloft is (in)famous. More importantly, the opponent artificial intelligence scales well and plays fairly realistically. Instead of consistently shooting at the same level, CPU-controlled players may experience hot streaks, and they may even choke. This makes for more exciting play. You can also play against another player by passing the phone back and forth.
In tournament mode, you'll place a bet before playing any of these characters. Should you win a game, you'll also benefit from cash generated by combo shots and by long runs of the table in which you pocket multiple balls consecutively. These incidental bonuses are the source of most of your cash. At the end of each round, your browbeaten opponent will present to you a final challenge: a trick shot. Most of these require the use of ball English, including the elusive massť. This is a conceit lifted directly from Side Pocket, and it's just as fun here. You can later attempt any of these challenges via the main menu.
The table is shown from an overhead perspective, and it's quite good-looking on the LG VX7000. It's possible to change the color of your cue, as well as the table itself. You'll gain new colors by beating opponents in tournament mode. These can be switched in the game's options menu.
A dotted line helps you set up your shots, showing where the cue is aimed and where the cue ball is likely to head after first contact. You'll be on your own for bank shots or anything of that complexity, however. While some might consider the use of this shooting guide to be a kind of cheating, it's really necessary given the cell phone's screen.
Billiards is a great game to play on the go, and Midnight Pool instills the familiar pastime with a slick visual style and some challenging competition. If you're a fan of pool, this is the best representation of the sport ever to grace a wireless phone. It's also the only mobile pool game that's just as fun to play against the computer as against a buddy.