Namco Bandai may be best known for their Pac-Man and Katamari Damacy titles on Windows Phone, but the publisher does dip into other genres from time to time. Case in point, their next game centers on the sport of pool. Pool Pro Online 3 comes to Xbox Live very soon, and Windows Phone Central has exclusive first screenshots to prove it.
Head past the break for our full preview and more screens!
Pool Pro Online 3 will be the first pool title in the mobile Live lineup, though the title of first downloadable Live pool game actually belongs to Bankshot Billiards 2 from the Xbox 360 launch. Yes, I just love showing off my trivia knowledge. Anyhow, Namco’s latest mobile offering looks to be an authentic recreation of the actual game. After selecting from either an overhead or player level camera-view, you’ll swipe across the screen to line up a shot. A white line indicates your aim, and whatever ball will be hit glows as well. A fine-tuning meter at the bottom of the screen allows for more precise aiming. Once you have everything lined up, pull down on the pool stick at the right side of the screen to launch the shot!
Game types include 8-ball, 9-ball, and snooker. Single-player mode offers four difficulty levels, so even beginner players should be able to pick up the game. The object (when playing by yourself) is to win as much ‘scratch’ (money) as possible, with several factors like shot streaks affecting the final payout. Winnings can then be spent on a variety of table felts, cue sticks, and pool halls in the game’s shop.
As the game’s title indicates, Pool Pro Online 3 also features an online multiplayer mode – a first for Namco Bandai on Windows Phone, as Pac-Man Kart Rally simply included local Wi-Fi multiplayer rather than true online. We don’t have full details on how this game’s online connectivity actually works, but presumably it’s asynchronous a la Battleship and Chickens Can’t Fly. As for the actual multiplayer gameplay, it works much like single-player except players actually bet scratch against each other, greatly increasing the stakes of the game.
The Xbox Live version of Pool Pro Online 3 includes several multiplayer Achievements (as discovered by our friend Zebrasqual), such as completing 20 online games and winning at least 80% of your online games played. Pool novices like me may be tempted to simply boost the latter Achievement, as it could be quite difficult for the under-skilled to win legitimately. There are several more challenging Achievements that don’t necessarily involve multiplayer, such as earning a score of 147 or higher in snooker. Don’t expect to get the full 200 GamerScore without a lot of time and practice!
The only things up in the air about Pool Pro Online 3 are its release date and price. Cryptically, we were told it would release on Thursday, July 5 for $.99. However, a mobile Live title has never released on a Thursday before, so that could be a mistake. Also, the game costs $2.99 on iOS and Android, so it seems likely the Windows Phone version will cost the same (especially given its online mode). We’ll keep an eye out this Thursday, but don’t be surprised if Pool Pro Online 3 actually releases later this month on a Wednesday.
Psst! The next Namco Bandai title after this will be Galaga Legions DX. We’ll have more details soon.
Update: Pool Pro Online 3 is coming on August 1 for $2.99.