KING OF POOL / Nordcurrent / Sony PSP
King of Pool is an OK little pool sim with varied modes of play, but is a bit too "budget" in the graphics and physics department, and also is a little too unfriendly to newcomers and billiards noobs.
First off, the tutorial is inadequate if you're not very familiar with pool. It only explains absolute basics of gameplay (how to move the camera and shoot), which you could figure out on your own with little trouble. It doesn't cover the rules of each game, nor how to do the more advanced trick shots. (Games on offer are straight pool, snooker, APA 8-ball, 9-ball and one-pocket.) The rules of each game are run down for you in a text scroll after you already start them ... but I can't see a way to get a summary of how they work other than starting then quitting. There's also an issue with the games that require you to sink balls in numerical order, as it seems to assume you recognize all the balls by their color, and it's often really hard to read their numbers with the low-caliber graphics.
Once in-game the actual pool action and physics are OK, I'd say "acceptable" for the most part, but there are a few problems and annoyances. You can hold down O to watch the expected trajectory of your shot slowly be mapped out ... but you only get a limited time to do this, and it seems unfair as it takes so goddamn long to simulate. The game also seems to seriously choke and slow down when you try to sim the paths of multiple balls being hit, and often just craps out and doesn't even do it. The other balls also feel like somehow they're way denser than the cue ball, as the cue often seems to ricochet off them illogically. This is most notable when you're very close to another ball ... the cue will often refuse to break a mass of balls when it really should be able to when hit with max force, or it will just randomly jump off the table when hitting a single ball up close.
The game offers a "career mode" but it's as spartan as the rest of the production values. You pick one of eight faces ... I don't think they even have names. Then you pick your type of pool and just play the other faces who ascend in difficulty. I don't think there's any cash, hoopla or really anything to distinguish it from just being a collection of disjointed solo matches.
If you're really jonesing for pool on the PSP this might barely be good enough to satisfy ... if you have a Vita though, give Hustle Kings a look, which looks immensely better.