iPhone Life magazine

Virtual Pool

Timothy Prentiss

Virtual PoolVirtual Pool is a great 3D pool simulation that’s available for a variety of platforms, now including the iPhone/iPod touch. Although it’s pretty easy to get started, you still have to get used to the look of the table. The cue ball always appears slightly larger than the ball you’re aiming it at, and you have to develop a “feel” for how hard or soft you have to hit it. You don’t win at your local pool hall by simply flicking your thumb over your phone—you have to figure out how to wield that cue stick!

After you finish a game, Curly the pool hustler congratulates you and holds up a roll of bills to tempt you to the next level. The game includes six different pool halls and 121 opponents. The further you go, the more skilled the challengers and the more difficult the games. Eventually, you’ll meet the masters and lose your bankroll. At that point, you might have to rely on the kindness of strangers and borrow money from “an anonymous donor” to get into the next game. You can also delete yourself from the game, create a new persona, and start all over again.


Eventually, you get a feel for the different pool halls and the skill level of opponents, and make your game choices accordingly. For example, I built up a bundle of winnings, but lost them to a quiet lady who calls herself Slow Roll. Her game is all about cue control—she pulls off amazing shots into surprising pockets, with the cue ball ending up perfectly positioned for the next ball in line. 

Virtual Pool slow roll

After losing to her, I dropped down to some easier tables where I could beat the likes of The Hammer and Chimpie in $5,000-15,000 matches. I’m building up my pile of winnings so that I can take on Slow Roll again. I just hope she makes a miscalculation on one of those bank shots.

Virtual Pool’s graphics and gameplay are better than the look of the players’ bio boxes.

Your playing style may change as you gain experience and play in the more challenging pool halls. For example, I began my career by hitting the cue ball as hard as I could every time, hoping for good things to happen. Now, my technique is a little smoother, and I’m winning matches more consistently.

Virtual Pool is impressive in its realism. Everything from the reflections on the shiny billiard balls to the clack of the balls when they hit each other rings true to life. I hope future upgrades include the ability to replay your most recent shot. Replays of short portions of the last shot are sometimes played when the phone is slightly bumped, so it seems possible. Reliving that fabulous winning shot—or trying to figure out how in the world your opponent beat you like that—would add to the undeniable fun of this game.

Virtual Pool