Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Midnight Pool is a solid game that both pool players and game enthusiasts will enjoy. It contains excellent graphics and makes solid use of the iPhone's touch screen for a great gaming experience.
The premise of Midnight Pool is simple: in a one- or two-player mode you challenge another player to a round of pool. Since it's a pool hall, the characters include the obligatory scantily-clad woman and a sheriff deputy who apparently lives in a town where you can hustle at pool on duty. Your game options are U.S. or U.K. 8-ball, a game of 9-ball, or a series of challenges to test your pool skills. To control the cue, your finger will be put to work. Making a shot is relatively simple; you slide your finger back and forth, paying attention to a power meter as you attack the cue ball. One strength of Midnight Pool is how much control you get over your shots. Prior to shooting you can slide your finger left and right on the screen to aim. A line indicates where your ball would travel, including a same indication for the ball you intend to strike.
If you are really into taking control, you even can change the vertical angle of your shot and pick a specific spot on the ball for contact. With this option, you can spin the cue ball any number of directions after contacting your target. This is especially useful in 9-ball, where you must hit all the balls in sequence. It takes some time to learn shot control, but you will get better with practice.
The touch screen isn't perfect — the screen was far less accurate when placing the cue ball after a scratch. And the game is quite sensitive when setting your shot angle. But given some gaming time you will likely be able to work with it. If you want further practice, challenge mode is a great way to increase your skill by taking on several difficult shots.
Midnight Pool includes some great graphics and detail. The pool table, balls, and other elements have great 3-D effects. This is one of the games that makes you think the iPhone could be a great portable gaming platform that rivals the PSP or Nintendo DS. Time will tell if game developers continue to put out quality offerings such as Midnight Pool for the iPhone.
At $4.99 the game is not as cheap as other billiard apps, but we think it's worth spending a few dollars to get a quality app.