Cherry Pop Games’ Pool Nation series has been met with significant praise over the years, launching on a number of console formats and defining the essence of social play in a virtual environment. In virtual reality (VR), the possibilities of enhancing this experience are significant to say the least, and the development team are exploring many of the avenues available to them. But not necessarily in the ways you might think.
The pool itself is obviously key to Pool Nation VR, and while this is provided in very good form it’s actually the seemingly incidental detail that makes the videogame such a compelling VR experience. The preview build of the videogame offered only one location – a dive bar – but was created with such passion for detail that this in itself was an interesting venue to experience.
Featuring a teleportation mechanic, Pool Nation VR doesn’t limit the player to simply moving around the pool table. The entirety of the bar is open for exploration. The player engage in other activities, such as playing darts or selecting a song on the jukebox, or even just sitting at the bar. From it’s dark corners to lively pop art and numerous interactive objects, Pool Nation VR offers a space that is appealing as a virtual social hangout; even without taking into account the fact that you can actually play pool.
The mechanics of the pool however, are just as impressive as the environment in which they are set. To nullify the difficulty arising from the fact that there probably is not a pool table in your real-world environment Pool Nation VR uses a lock system. Placing your cue resting hand in your chosen position and holding the trigger will lock that hand into place, allowing you to then choose the angle and apply force to your shot with the other hand. It’s a simple technique that didn’t seem too obvious at first, but once experienced you’ll wonder if there actually is any other way to do it.
VRFocus‘ hands-on time with the videogame was limited to single-player against rather a aggressive AI opponent, but of course the final build will allow for multiplayer gameplay. Furthermore, Cherry Pop Games intend on progressing their work with trick shots and ensuring that there’s plenty to do in this space while waiting for those friends to arrive. Video recording built into the videogame will allow you to share your creativity online, and given that you’re not limited to just one table – nor just traditional pool objects – it’s almost certain that some ingenious and talented creations will arrive soon after the videogame launches next week.
In the meantime be sure to check out episode 4 of VRTV which features an interview with the developer.