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Preview: Golf Pool VR – 8-Ball Putting Madness

Golf and Pool may involve hitting solid balls across green surfaces but that’s about where the similarity ends. Ever wondered what would happen if you tried to mix the two? Well, all your questions are about to be answered thanks to Golf Pool VR, providing reasons both for and against this sporting mashup.

Developer Frozen Dreams wisely decided that using a pool cue on a golf course just wasn’t going to work, so instead made the (somewhat) saner decision to use a golf putter on a pool table – in Earth’s history someone must have been done this drunk at least once? So Golf Pool VR is exactly as you’d expect, 8-ball rules apply, just this time you’ve got to line those shots from way above…with a golf club.

Instantly you’d think this sounds easy, just like putting? Nope, because there’s another ball involved. In fact, 8-ball just got a lot harder as trying to work out those angles is mightily difficult. Luckily there are two modes to help with this, one for novices and one for those experienced players. The former gives you the angle the red/blue ball is going to go whilst the latter only shows what your putter and white ball are doing. While the system works well enough there’s certainly a high learning curve difficulty as lining up a straight forward shot isn’t easy. The novice mode does have an angle lock function but you need to remain cool as ice to get it in the desired direction before locking as the arrow is super sensitive to any body motion.

As you are playing with that’s essentially a golf putter all the pool tables are located on the floor. There’s a selection of environments to choose from with the tables always remaining the same – there’s no crazy golf/pool mashup at the moment – and most of the locations are glorious to look at such as either of the city scenes; the one in the rain stands out in particular as for some reason two guards/police officers are just casually chatting away.

You only need one controller for Golf Pool VR so you’re limited to snap turning and teleportation to manoeuvre around the table and get on the white ball. If there’s enough space you can simply walk around which is very handy for fine-tuning after teleporting because it never quite lands in the perfect spot. You’re also limited to the table edge which is fine most of the time yet the odd occasion did arise where having the ability to step a little further away would have been great.

What’s nice to see in an Early Access title is the inclusion of single-player and multiplayer modes so that you can go head to head with a mate. Solo against the AI provides suitable practice although it does get stale. Adding a friend to the mix means that even if you’re both rubbish learning Golf Pool VR can still be an enjoyable experience.

Adding some variety to the experience as well as being a really odd mini-game, there’s Save the Penguins mode. Dispensing with the pool mechanics you’re adrift in Antarctica and somehow all the penguins are frozen, so hot molten rocks from a nearby volcano (bear with us) need to be chipped at these rock-solid critters to unfreeze them. The physics do feel a little off in this mode as its way too easy to send the rocks soaring into the distance, and they are limited in number.

Golf Pool VR really is a mixed experience at the moment. It’s beautiful to look at and the pool table physics work well. The real problem comes trying to effectively marry the subtle features of each sport, most notably the pool- side of things as there’s no way to add any sort of spin so there’s no point really worrying about position. Work is needed to finesse the gamelay yet there’s no reason Golf Pool VR can’t turn into a novel VR experience which isn’t afraid of trying something different.

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