Many of you reading this have probably never played Snooker, but for those in UK, parts of Europe and Australasia, it’s a pretty big deal. I could write a thousand or so words on the rules of Snooker, so in this review I’ll assume you know how to play. For those who don’t, click here for a Wikipedia description.
Big Head Games have created a pretty spot on rendition of the game of Snooker on iPhone. The first thing that struck me was how good it looks. The angled 3D view of the table looks just like it should, just like you would see on BBC two coverage of the sport. Complete with almost identical head up display of the players names and scores. The 3D models look almost photographic and the framerate is pretty smooth. Unfortunately Big Head doesn’t have the official license and so, the names of the players are made up. There are some similarities to real players though, such as Stephen White and Jimmy Johnson echoing real life Jimmy White… and Steve Williams and Ronald Davies, echoing real life Steve Davies. Even the music shares the same sound style as the BBC’s snooker theme, but arranged differently to avoid infringing on copyright. It’s a nice touch, especially for fans of snooker on the Beeb.
So how does it play? All controls are touch based, there is no motion control (thank god!) or flick controls of the cue. To strike the ball you first line up the shot be dragging the screen, which repositions the camera and direction of the cue ball. And then using an on screen power meter you select the power and hit the ‘play shot’ button. It’s a little easy to get the shot you want, especially if you are familiar with the game, and cue ball and target ball guides take away a lot of the skill [as of posting this review, there is now an option to turn the guides off]. Having said that, snooker is as much a game of strategy as it is skill, so I didn’t mind it too much. If anything, it allows you to pull of moves that only a pro could achieve in real life.
The game offers, 2 player games on one device (turn based), 1 player games against computer opponents, plus a Tournament mode, which takes you through all the players at various difficulty levels.
All in all International Snooker Championship is a great package, with tight controls and great graphics. For snooker, and even pool fans, it’s worth the £2.99 ($4.99) price and I recommend picking it up.
Graphics and Presentation
With a style ripped straight from the Beeb, this snooker game looks just like the real thing. Ball physics reacts as it should, and animation is silky smooth.
You can turn the sound on or off, but I can’t play without the satisfying sound of clanking balls (ooh Matron!). The music is great, echoing that of the famous snooker theme on the BBC Would like to see voice over commentary and crowd claps though.
Plays great! Easy to control, and with the guides switched on you can pull off some neat spins and moves. The computer AI is pretty good too, offering a decent challenge. But two player is the best fun to be had.
Apart from the main game modes and three difficulties there isn’t much more, but Snooker is a game that you can return to again and again as no game is ever the same. Some more features such as training mode and online multi-player would be welcome though.
I thoroughly enjoy playing International Snooker, with it’s auto save feature allowing you to return exactly where you left off in a tournament, it has become one of my top games to play while travelling to work.