There's a great concept on the table with Carambole Pool Puzzles by ADS Software Group Inc.. Specially priced at .99 for a limited time, Carambole Pool Puzzles is very much a combination of executing trick shots, similar to the way you would in a game of pool, while using a puzzle-solving mindset to clear the table.
Carambole Pool Puzzles is played on a table with no pockets. Instead, there are different colored balls arranged in various puzzle patterns and your goal is to make a shot with whatever color cue ball you’re given so that it will hit at least two others of the same color. If you are successful, those balls will disappear from the table. If not, the extra ball goes into play. Once the table is clear, you advance to the next level and so on. In essence, it’s a different and creative spin on the match-three puzzle concept.
While I give credit for being creative with a tried and true puzzle idea, electronic pool games have been around for quite some time and parts of this game are loosely based on the same concepts. For instance, to set up your shot, you position the cue ball around the edges of the table using a dotted pointer line as a guide. Then touching the "strike" button in the lower right corner to adjust the power, you take your shot. There is no diagonal shooting and no way of putting any kind of spin on the ball, but positioning the ball for vertical and horizontal shots only is part of the puzzle aspect.
The developer of Carambole Pool Puzzles has clearly taken pains to support their development where this app is concerned. Initially, I felt there were some serious conflicts with control when executing shots, but their most recent update seems to have addressed previous control issues, which very much improves the overall experience. Bravo.
I experienced two other issues with Carambole Pool Puzzles that made me briefly question the overall stability. Once in a while there was a lag between the shot and the delivery. This obviously didn’t impact the success of the shot, but it definitely impacted the smoothness of game play. I also found the app randomly shut down several levels in. It could be a glitch on my end, but it wasn’t a one-off and I don’t frequently have that problem with other apps. It certainly didn’t happen every time I played nor has it happened frequently and the game always saves on the current level. However, I suspect the most recent update to Carambole Pool Puzzles may also have solved this performance issue.
The puzzle aspect of Pool Puzzles is solid. After a few of the first, easier levels, the arrangement of and types of balls becomes more interesting in the subsequent puzzles. Some are two-toned, giving them the ability to interact with two different colored balls and some of the balls are screwed to the table, which renders them immobile and poses a new challenge. The further you advance through the levels, the more challenging it becomes to clear the table in as few shots as possible. The game records high scores and the best levels for comparison sake.
Overall, the concept of Carambole Pool Puzzles is good. The delivery and performance, thanks to the recent update, is now smooth and the game itself is easy to catch on to. As it stands right now you can try the limited, but free, version Carambole Pool Puzzles Lite before you buy or spend the buck and get the full version while it's on sale. In my opinion, the extra levels are worth it.