Smack those balls together!
If you have ever wanted to play a game that was all about pool balls smacking into eachother and wasn’t really about pool, then have I got the ideal game for you. I was able to get my hands on a review code for the Adult Swim Games game, Pool Panic, where you control a pool ball and smack into other pool balls. Sounds like a simple premise right? There is far more to it than that as there is plenty of skill and mastery involved in this game that you totally forget that you have to smack a pool ball and more often feel like you’re playing a real time strategy game.
Right at the start, you get thrown into a tutorial and trust me; you’ll need it as aiming is a royal pain. You can play with the Nintendo Switch Pro controller but the game recommends you play with the Joy Cons. You get the basics from the talking chalk and you realize how difficult it is to aim in Pool Panic is. I was playing with the Pro Controller and you use both control sticks to aim and move and this isn’t the best way to control a game where you need to have precision aiming.
Aiming takes a little getting used to as it feels like you’re actually playing a real game of pool as you can line up shots from the side or from straight on. However that’s really where the similarities between real pool and Pool Panic end as the pool balls are alive and can move at any time. Different colored balls act differently and do different things such as Yellow running around scared when you think you have the shot lined up and Orange being on roller skates and rolling away when you have the shot lined up. There are also different types of balls like bear balls that will attack you, fish balls that flop just like fish and many more animal types and it will be your job to smack them into various hoes! During gameplay, you will be challenged to complete different challenges in the level such as finishing the level in under a number of shots, balls sunk during play, if you happen to scratch, and time it takes you to complete the level.
You have the option to display the icons on screen for these rewards or you can turn them off from the main menu. There is another icon and that shows how many balls you need to sink in before you can go after the black eight ball and end the level. Just like in billiards, you need to sink the eight ball last but you don’t have to call your shot to end the level!
The overworld map is a cartoonish map that has a little bit of everything a world should have. It has lush fields, it has woods, it has water, it has construction sites, it has farmland, it has everything a pool ball would want and more. That also means that there is all kinds of stuff to explore as well as all kinds of stuff to discover so have fun looking through the world and finding out what you need to advance to the next part of it. One of the cool parts of the world map was when I found a bear den and I couldn’t get any further and played the level next to it and found a guy who roared at everything.
The next thing I knew he was coming with me on the map and growled at a group/blockade of bears and scared them off, allowing me to pass through! There are all kinds of levels to play on as well during your Pool Panic adventure. One time you might have to jump into a lake and shoot fish into the corner pocket, another time you might have to unchain tree huggers from their tree and shoot them into the corner pocket.. The game is so unpredictable that you never know what’s going to happen next and that’s a good thing.
You have the option to play the game in Story Mode, and VS mode right off the bat and then you can unlock Panic Mode the further you progress in the game. I was using the Pro Controller but it was a devil of a time for me so in this instance I might recommend using the Joy Cons to play Pool Panic. The music and graphics add to just a zany this game really is and it’s these reasons that I’m giving Pool Panic for the Nintendo Switch an 8/10. I’d like to thanks Adult Swim games for the review code.