Snooker Nation 2019
PS4 version tested
Review code provided
Snooker Nation Championship 2019 comes to us from Cherry Pop Games and looks to scratch that itch for casual gamers in need of a Snooker fix, but can it stand out from the stiff competition that has arisen in a sudden Snooker gaming resurgence? Let’s take a gander.
First things first, SN19 is a digital offering and comes in with a generous price tag that is sitting pretty below £10. What is on offer in this title is a pickup and play Snooker experience with a simple tournament mode for single player with local and online multiplayer also supported. The gameplay is competent and utilised the official WSC Real championship physics engine.
The campaign takes the form of a knockout tournament consisting of 6 rounds from qualifier through to the finals. Qualifying will consist of beating six opponents in single frame matches before moving into the main tournament facing knockout rounds featuring multi-frame matches with a various range of fictional players.
3 Difficulty settings are on offer, all of which I found to be reasonably balanced for their respective setting. A selection of gaming aids can be applied and adjusted to suit your play style, the most obvious of these is the ball line which will give you an indication of what direction the struck ball will go as well as the direction the cue ball will head and potentially end up. Shots can be adjusted by positioning the cue high or low using R2 and L2 as well as applying spin to your shot by adjusting the cue tip with the D-Pad. Shot taking is performed with the right analogue stick, pulling back and powering up a shot gauge to indicate how powerful your hit will be.
The Championship only takes a couple of hours to get through which is something of a mercy, as there isn’t much in the way of progression. You earn in-game currency as you win matches, and this can be used to purchase cosmetics such as different coloured pool cues and table designs. Thankfully Cheery Pop hasn’t turned to the dark side and implemented microtransactions.
Local Multiplayer speaks for itself, go head-to-head with some friends in good old-fashioned bragging rights matches which, at least in my opinion, is where sports games deliver their best experience.
Online is where you will likely spend most of your time in lieu of an in-depth campaign or season mode to progress through. Online leader boards, single matches and tournaments are on offer. Once again progression is primarily rewarded with in-game currency for cosmetics.
The lobby’s were mildly populated when I logged on but most games were set to private, when I did join a game it seemed to flow well at first but the camera suddenly flipped out and only let me see the table from a top-down view during my shot’s and just flickered incoherently through everything else rendering the experience pretty abysmal. Hopefully, this is something that will be sorted sooner rather than late as the online mechanic appears to be the bread and butter of this title and the majority of players will likely be keen to spend their time in online competition.
Presentation wise the game has very clear and clean graphics, playing on the PS4 Pro with HDR enabled gave everything a nice shine. Crowds are silhouetted in the stands with some realistic mumblings and coughs on occasion with the traditional patter of claps when a good shot or victory is achieved. No match commentary is on offer but there is a referee voice over who will call out points and fouls with about as much charisma as Steven Hendry’s expressions.
As a casual pick up and play experience, I enjoyed my time with SN19. However, with 3 new titles on the market including Snooker 2019 this offering from Cherry Pop will not be for everyone. If you are a hardcore snooker fan and looking for something to sink your teeth into then you may want to look elsewhere. If you just like to dabble in short bursts for a bit of fun this might be the game for you but with the main brunt of the game being aimed at the online the experience will all be down to how populated the leader boards become and if Cherry Pop can get the servers stable for a clean and enjoyable experience. I would have liked to see some daily or weekly challenges included to the single player as a way of encouraging some experimental play but after winning the championship I feel I have seen all there is to see with this title. Fun for what it is, but there isn’t much here.