Version Reviewed: 1.2.6
Graphics / Sound [rating:4/5]
Game Controls [rating:3.5/5]
iPhone Integration [rating:3.5/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:3.5/5]
I'm a snooker fan, and a Ronnie O'Sullivan fan, so this game was made for me. The moment I saw it pop up in the App store I was eager to download and play it. Although the game is enjoyable, some control issues mar the experience, meaning - while still very good - Ronnie O'Sullivan's Snooker doesn't quite live up to expectations.
For those of you interested in an game like this, I don't really need to relay the rules of snooker (but if you do want to know more go here).
This game isn't like other snooker games. Instead it focusses more closely on the career of the mercurial Ronnie O'Sullivan - a vastly talented snooker player.
From the start, the presentation is good. A nice video acts as intro to the game. A couple of taps and you are given the choice of Practice, Quick Match, Career, or Multiplayer. In multiplayer you can choose between taking turns with a friend on the same device, Wi-Fi network play (presumably locally, against a friend), or Internet play.
In Quick Match mode you play as Ronnie... but you also play against Ronnie. You start off against the teenage Ronnie, who is a shadow of his future self. It makes for a nice easy start, but things soon get more difficult. Choose to play against an older, better and more experienced Ronnie and you'll have your work cut out.
For me, the main thrust of this game came in Career mode. In it you recreate pivotal moments in Ronnie's spectacular snooker career. Along the way you'll play in crucial frames from some of Ronnie's greatest matches. These tasks include Junior World Champion, My First Major Title, Rocket Powered 147, Against The Clock, UK Champ and World Champion. There are other challenges, and interspersed between them are Practice set-ups, giving you a brief respite from the competition of proper frames.
A problem with many of these snooker/pool genre games is the control system. Although the developers have made a good attempt, it still feels slightly awkward and imprecise when controlling your shots.
The main issue comes in judging the strength of your shots. Yes, you pull back the virtual snooker cue, but you're never sure how this translates to ball power. There is a visual clue, tied in with an aiming system which shows where your cue ball will strike the object ball, and from there where each ball will travel. This is a good aid, up to a point, but I found my shots were often not ending up where I thought they would! Then again, if the guides had shown me exactly where my shots would end up, maybe the game would have become too easy.
As it turns out, not knowing the strength of your shots isn't the limitation to winning you would think. The aiming aid is good enough to allow you to make the most outrageous pots, and therefore continue a break that ordinarily would have ended long ago! The same can be said, also, for the game's AI. The computer would quite often take on shots a real professional would baulk at. But on the later levels the computer would still pocket the balls!
Despite its minor control flaws, Ronnie O'Sullivan's Snooker plays a mean frame. I immensely enjoyed completing the career mode. Re-enacting some great moments from Ronnie's career proved more enjoyable than expected.
For fans of snooker this is a definite recommend, even at $4.99.
This game does enter the pro ranks - through graphics and a sense of occasion - but, the control issues and sometimes flaky AI, mean it just fails to hit the heights of its illustrious namesake.