Pool Panic (Switch, PC)

In my freshman year at college, none of my friends had a car on campus yet, so we hung around the dorms a lot that first year.  In the lobby basement were a couple of pool tables, so when we got bored we’d sometimes go down there and play pool.  I wasn’t very good at it.  The only other times I played pool were in video game form, either as a mini-game in Super Monkey Ball, or once when I rented Lunar Pool on the NES (which was a pretty wacky pool game).  But now I’ve played the wackiest billiards game of all: Pool Panic.  It’s available to download on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

In Pool Panic, all the balls are alive.  You control the cue ball and can make it walk around freely.  Like pool, your job is to knock all the balls in the holes, and leave the 8-ball last.  When that’s done, you just knock the 8-ball in the hole and walk yourself in as well.  Then you can finish the level.  To hit the other balls, you must aim the cue stick with the R analog pad.  You can still walk around freely while doing this.  When you are ready to make a shot, just hit the R button for a soft hit and the R trigger button below for a harder hit.

You start on a fairly standard pool table but soon open up a world map with crazy areas like a campsite, car crash, city, and much more.  You’ll have to navigate through wild obstacles on each table, and since the balls are alive, they have different personalities too.  Red balls will let you knock them around, but some other colored balls get scared and run away when you aim at them, so you have to figure out other ways to get them in the holes.  Other balls are sneaky and will dodge you at the last second, and some pick you up and throw you around!  It’s very unpredictable!  Sometimes you may have to do way different things to put the balls in holes, like herd them around like sheep!

You can get four trophies on each table.  One for finishing it quickly, one for getting all the balls in the holes, one for completing the level in a certain number of hits, and one for not getting the cue ball or the 8-ball in the holes before the other balls.  Getting more trophies unlocks more levels.  You can also unlock more modes like a harder Panic Mode and multiplayer areas as well.  But the game does have a few problems.  You can’t adjust the camera angle, so if a ball gets hit behind a bus, for instance, you might not know it’s back there and won’t get the trophy for it if you miss it.  The unpredictability of the personified balls can get annoying sometimes, and while the game has a tutorial, much of the game is rather vague.  Like how do you get balls down that are stuck in trees, for instance.  But the game does have a lot of personality, so if you like crazy off the wall pool, you may want to check this one out.

Kid Factor:

Pool Panic is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Crude Humor and Fantasy Violence.  Balls burp and scream and make other rude noises, and you can hit balls around and some sound as if they don’t like it very much.  Balls can also be in car wrecks and other cartoony predicaments.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may get frustrated at the difficulty.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!