Don't like the smokey, dirty feel of a pool hall? Intimidated by the leatherclad gentlemen eying you sideways everytime you scratch and shout, "Oh fudge!"? So are we and luckily there's a game for us. Bankshot Billiards 2 is one of the Xbox 360 Live Arcade launch titles we downloaded demos for last night. This is just a review of the demo and not the full version, which you can purchase for $15 (1200 points that is).
What do we want out of these demos? We?re looking to be hooked on
a simple and addictive arcade-style experience. Bankshot Billiards 2 is unfortunately not that experience.
Like the rest of the demos, Live multiplayer is not an option so we are limited to single-player games or local
multiplayer. Since a pool demo can?t be level-locked, they impose time limits. Short time limits. You only have 1:30
minutes during your turns to win! At least for our skill level, we could barely get more than a couple balls in
(usually by accident).
You have a choice of singleplayer games like 8-ball, 9-ball, Cutthroat, Euro 8-ball, 14.1 continuous, 3-ball, Trick Shots, Time Trial, and Golf. The last three have only have one premade shot available while the first five and local multiplayer are little fun with the time limitation. This leaves us with 3-ball. Simple yet hard as hell 3-ball. Your goal: sink 3 balls as quickly as possible. This should be easy, even under a minute and a half, but it?s consistenly difficult. Each win brings renewed determination, but 3-ball?s a cruel bitch-goddess, taunting us with her charms but remaining out of reach.
While the game is technically competent with simple controls and clean, detailed graphics, we had trouble getting into it. For free you could do worse than the simple pleasures of 3-ball, but at $15 it is at the upper price range of Live Arcade titles. We wish the developers allowed us to play full games by determining some other method of limiting play (20 plays, then an imposed time limit?). If you chose to actually buy it, you would find a plethora of options and what we imagine would be the deal-clencher: Live support. In the meantime, it?s back to the pool hall for us.
Overall Score: 7.5/10