Pool Twist ($0.99) is an odd mixture of the entertaining and the unfortunately tacky. The game involves shooting green-coloured pool balls into holes. As in normal pool, you use a cue to hit a white ball, angling it such that it knocks balls into holes. Clear all of the green balls and you’ll progress to the next stage.
To spice things up, red balls stand in your way; accidentally pot one and you’ll lose five points (green balls are worth five points each). If the white ball passes over any holes, they will disappear. Power ups are also present in some of the 70 stages, but they’re not particularly exciting. They’re just things like ‘extra ball’, or making all of the red balls in a stage disappear. There’s one called ‘double vision’, but after frequently collecting it, I’ve still no idea exactly what it does, if anything.
The controls work well most of the time. To aim, you swipe on the screen to where you want to hit the white ball, and use a slider on the right of the screen to fine-tune your shot, just like in Peggle. Tapping the screen switches to the shoot screen: the faster you swipe along the screen, the faster you’ll hit the ball. You can tap the screen before shooting to return to the aim screen. The one problem with this system is that it’s instinctive to aim by tapping at your chosen point on the screen, but that skips over to the shoot screen. I often nearly took a shot when I was just trying to set the aim.
When shooting, a line shows the trajectory of all of the balls that will be hit, making it incredibly easy to see whether a ball will be potted or not. Although helpful, this sometimes makes the game too easy. You’re unlikely to struggle through this app.
Sadly, the game looks and sounds… well, bad. The pool table itself is a disgustingly bland colour, and the artist is clearly a fan of badly-used textures and shadow effects on photoshop. The music isn’t much better, sounding like the kind of thing that should accompany a cheaply made cartoon about a mouse running around in a comical fashion. Not really the most appropriate thing for a casual pool game, then. After not much time at all, I began to play the game on mute.
Overall, Pool Twist is sometimes fun, and at worst is just mildly entertaining. But its concept is held back by rubbishy presentation (don’t get me started on that title screen) and a sadly not-quite-there control scheme. If you can see past its cheap exterior, there’s a chance that you’ll have a fair bit of fun with this game.