Some pool games work extremely well on the iPhone and iPad. Just take a look at Namco’s Pool Pro Online 3, which we raved about in our review. Pool Bar is another solid entry in the genre, and it makes up for its lack of online multiplayer with excellent graphics and controls.
Pool Bar has three variations of pool: US 8 Ball, UK 8 Ball, and 9 Ball. The first two are pretty much the same, the UK variation using red and yellow balls instead of stripes and solids. 9 Ball has you hitting balls into the holes in numerical order. The player who gets the 9 ball in wins.
There are three AI difficulty levels, as well as the option to play a single game or best of three or five. Plus, you can play any of the three modes against other players with pass and play. Unfortunately, the killer feature of many other pool games, online multiplayer, isn’t available in Pool Bar.
Somehow the Hungry Shark coin-op never made it to our local arcade.
Pool Bar’s controls are one thing it has over other pool games. Besides switching between top-down and first-person camera angles, there aren’t any buttons mucking things up. Our favorite part was controlling the cue by physically sliding it, offering very precise control over the power of your shot.
The graphics in Pool Bar are also top-notch. While the iPad version’s are equal to those of Pool Pro Online 3 for iPad, the iPhone 4 version’s visuals are stunning on the Retina display.
There are two different versions of Pool Bar: this iPad version, and a version exclusive to the iPhone 4, which is titled Pool Bar HD. If you ask us, the naming scheme is a little confusing, since most iPad games use the ‘HD’ moniker. Pool Bar HD will only run on an iPhone 4, and the developers told us they aren’t looking to change that.
Pool Bar is in a bit of an odd position, considering both versions cost a dollar more than Pool Pro Online 3. Plus, Pool Pro Online 3 is a more compelling package as far as content goes, with three unique gameplay variations, online multiplayer, and customizable themes. That said, if you fancy lots of polish, Pool Bar is worth checking out.