There's something about the great game of the green baize that is perfectly suited to screen-based fun. Possibly it's the simple nature of a passtime that relies on angles, power, and turn-based strategy (like the game itself). More prosaically, it may be that snooker is one of the sports that is much harder to play than it looks when seen on TV - played on a computer it's a lot more simple. (There's less ungainly leaning over a table for a start.) Whatever the reason, every digital device should have a snooker game with which to waste a few hours, and International Snooker HD is that game for Android phones and Android tablets.
Gameplay is simple and intuitive, but no less gripping for it. When it is your turn to play, you can change the angle of view, and the direction in which you are aiming the cueball, using simple touch gestures or onscreen controls. You then set the power of your shot (from 1-100 percent) and tap a button to get things rolling. This does mean that International Snooker HD for Android lacks the finesse required of, say, a golf game in which you have to time the shot correctly. It takes away a crucial sense of jeopardy after you have lined up your play. This may in time cause boredom to slip in, but from our lengthy tests at least there is enough in the challenge of setting the angle and judging the pace to make the game a keeper.
This is not least because the tighter the cut you put on the object ball in International Snooker HD, the more gently you have to control the angle of the cueball. If you're in a tight spot you need a very steady hand. Guides show you in which direction both cue- and object ball will set off immediately after contact, but there are no stabilisers here: within a few inches of the collision, you're on your own. You have to line it up, hit and hope.
You can select where you hit the ball (as well as how hard) in order to impart spin, and in our experience the ball runs true. There are no freebies in International Snooker. See also: Best Android Apps
For snooker ingenues the icon next to your player name lets you know which ball you should be aiming to pot, and if you foul a brief explanation puts you in the picture. And the game looks fantastic. I suppose that recreating a green table and a load of balls is not the biggest challenge for designer and developer, but International Snooker HD for Android looks great. The 'HD' is no misnomer.
International Snooker HD for Android can be fiendishly simple, grippingly irritating, and utterly compelling. Like a proper snooker player you have to graduate from playing flashy pots to trying to think a shot or two ahead of the opposition and the lie of the balls. Gameplay options include tournament, 1 Player (against the AI), and 2 Player, in which you pass the game from one player to the other. In the one player option the AI is gratifyingly quick to line up and hit his shots (let's face it, unless you are Allison Fisher, it is always a he).
And he has the decency not to build massive breaks, as that would be a very boring game. We do wonder how much fun a two-player game would be without limiting the amount of time taken over each shot. Perhaps this is why there is no network game option, although this too feels like an oversight.
And that's really all there is to say: if you want a snooker game for your Android gadget, for a couple of quid you can't go wrong with International Snooker. It looks good, and is fun to play.
International Snooker HD for Android: Specs
- REQUIRES ANDROID: 1.6 and up
- REQUIRES ANDROID: 1.6 and up
International Snooker HD for Android is a solid snooker game for your phone or tablet. For perfection we'd like the jeapordy of having to control the cueing action, and it lacks networked gameplay, but if you want baize fun at your fingertips, this is where it's at.