World Snooker Championship Season 2007-08
- Developer: Blade
- Publisher: Deep Silver
Snooker: an odd game when you think about it. Who on earth came up with those rules? Somebody not very good at it, I reckon: "No, you can't just pot any ball you like. It must be the red. I don't care if the black's hanging over the pocket - you must pot the red! Do you get an extra go if you pot that? Well, um, yes. But I'm putting the pink back on the table! It's only fair on me."
Nonetheless, it seems to have stuck. If you can forgive its misguided waistcoat-and-bowtie haughtiness, snooker's one of the most entertaining boring sports to indulge in, especially now that pool tables cost a quid a go (bloody hell, I remember when it was 10p). Yet these days it largely gets ignored in the videogame market. With the mighty match-up of Archer MacLean and Jimmy White a long way behind us, World Snooker Championship is today's only real contender, trotting along contentedly in a one-horse race.
Its debut on DS plays pretty much as a snooker game should, although even though the stylus looks an awfully lot like a cue, the game doesn't quite necessitate adopting a snooker stance with it to hit the ball. Shots are instead made by sliding the stick back and forth, vertically translating speed of strike into power (the lazier gamer can push A). It's a little more tactile on the handheld, though no better or worse than the console control method.
Aiming duties are also assigned to the touch-screen. Dragging the stylus over the baize adjusts aim and a dot on the cue ball can be moved for spin and angle. Being such a small screen, however, it's difficult to be precise without a lot of faff, even with the aim assist. Miss a pot and leave the table wide open and you'll usually suffer the indignity of the AI player soaring ahead as you watch morosely. Then again, that's snooker for you.
A friendly mode and a number of similar tournaments topped with John Virgo's dry commentary make up the package, though you won't find much to differentiate between each game beyond which licensed name you play. Oddly, for those who want to develop or have an intuition for the game, I couldn't find any way to turn off the aim-assist in competition matches, only in a friendly. It seems a bit of a silly exclusion.
More of a concern is that there's no wireless multiplayer. If you want to play a game with someone else, you have to swap the DS back and forth on each go. They've really missed a trick(shot) with that one. Indeed, there's no valid excuse for why it couldn't have been done, though it certainly does convey the fact that snooker is a lot of sitting around doing nothing on occasion. With those flaws in place, WSC is a competent game of snooker, granted, yet it could have been so much more. Next year, eh, chaps?