This 8 ball sinks almost immediately after the break
Even during the very early days of the Internet there’s been no shortage of virtual-pool titles to choose from. Miniclip adds yet one more game to the list with 8 Ball Multiplayer Pool. Does this latest Facebook offering bring anything new to the table, or is it merely a hustle?
Load up 8 Ball Multiplayer Pool and you’re presented with three basic options: play, tournaments, and play friends. There is almost nothing in the way of tweaking gameplay (other than a mute button), no real social features to speak of, and little else in the way of fanfare. Simply click on one of the aforementioned play options and rack ’em up.
As its name implies, there’s just one gameplay type: 8 ball. Directing your stick is handled with the mouse, of course; click and hold the left button and pull back on the mouse to power up your shot; release to take your shot. The controls should be old hat to anyone who has played Yahoo pool or similar games, though aiming with the stick here is a bit too sensitive for my liking. There’s no way to fine tune your aim, and the timer is set way too short. I never felt as though I had a comfortable window with which to negotiate even simple shots, let alone more complex set-ups.
In play mode, you’re quickly matched with another Facebook user, and the process is completely painless. Unfortunately, there are zero chat features, not even preset statements such as “nice shot” or “good game.” 8 Ball Multiplayer Pool takes a minor step forward in terms of visuals, yet it leaves behind many meaningful features now typical of the online pastime.
Tournament mode runs you through a gauntlet of other players, making for a decent competitive option. Again, however, a lack of social features is sorely missed, and the credits earned within this mode seem to have no apparent value. Achievements received during gameplay are always a nice touch, but when you click on the link to view your stats, you’re merely sent back to the game’s title screen.
Visually, 8 Ball Multiplayer Pool is a rather simple affair, though the colors are vibrant and the overall presentation is polished. The tables currently offer a winter motif, though you can opt to shut off the snow pattern for plain felt. There’s no music present, and the sound effects are barebones.
8 Ball Multiplayer Pool is completely functional, and its presentation is fairly attractive. Spend just a short time with the game, however, and you’ll quickly long for features found in almost all other run-of-the-mill online pool tables. The fact you can find better social features elsewhere speaks to just how badly Miniclip has missed the mark on Facebook (the Mecca of social networking), and mediocre controls do little to boost the game’s value. With other, better options for online pool readily available, there’s little reason to invest your time into this one.