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iPad  header logo

Super Paper Pool

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone


Product: Super Paper Pool | Developer: One Side Software | Publisher: One Side Software | Format: iPad | Genre: Casual, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Super Paper Pool iPad, thumbnail 1
If you've ever played pool on a novelty table, you'll know that it's much less fun than it looks. As soon as the cueball bounces off at an inconceivable angle or ends up behind a corner it becomes painfully clear that pool relies on simple geometrical predictability. Without that, you're just hitting things with a stick.

Super Paper Pool is superficially similar to playing on these novelty tables, in that the stages are not rectangular - they come in all manner of variously elaborate shapes. But it's arguably closer to mini-golf, right down to the par-based scoring system. In fact, it's not clear why One Side Software plumped for the pool theme in the first place.

Not, I should stress, that the game is particularly close to mini-golf either. There are several balls to pot in each stage, for a start, and they're not balls – they're polygons that slide across the baize. Except the cueball, which is a ball. And it's not really clear what all this has got to do with paper.

Cue confusion

The balls come in a variety of shapes and colours, and the aim of the game is to propel them over matching target shapes.

You don't have to line the shapes up, or even play your shots so that the shapes are touching when the object shape comes to rest. You just need to make sure that at some point during the shot the object shape passes over a star in the middle of the target – which poses the question: why bother with all the shapes?

They certainly don't appear to serve any purpose, except in rare cases where you need to make sure a rectangle is properly aligned with a gap.

Imagine playing pool – or mini-golf – with wooden building blocks. Difficult isn't the word. In fact, I'd argue that it's fully impossible for the human brain to calculate the path of a spinning, ricocheting polygon on a cross-shaped table, so for much the time the gameplay boils down to damage control.

Super Paper Pool seems to be aware of this, since in many of its stages the object shapes are in tantalisingly friendly positions at the outset, and so the challenge is simply not to mess everything up by playing wild shots and moving them. Success in Super Paper Pool relies on caution. You're not a pool shark – you're a shape shepherd.

In some ways this is more of a puzzler than a pool game – or at least it draws more on the tactics of pool than on the physics.

The game generally rewards conservative play, but there are opportunities to be a bit more creative and improve your score by, for example, bouncing the cueball off a cushion or two to manufacture a better angle of approach, or cannoning a shape off another shape.


However ambitious you get, you rarely need the skill of geometrical judgement, because there's an extremely generous aiming line that lets you see exactly where your cueball will land with a ghost ball, and in most stages you'll find yourself just sweeping the line back and forth until the ghost ball is where you want it.

The only physical skill is in getting the power right, and you'll need to master this if you want to get anywhere.

So, Super Paper Pool is a bit like pool, but not really. It's more like mini-golf, but it's not exactly like that either. And nor does it have anything to do with paper. In other words, it's bonkers.

The pool theme is a red herring that will probably encourage you to play it too boldly, leading to tedious, par-shattering exercises in shape-shepherding.

But once you put pool from your mind and play the game on its own terms you'll discover a reasonably enjoyable and challenging physics-puzzler that's a little bit like pool and a little bit like mini-golf, but otherwise unlike anything you've played before.
Super Paper Pool
Reviewer photo
Rob Hearn | 11 July 2013
Super Paper Pool has nothing to do with pool or paper, and it's not super either, but if you're looking for a novel physics-puzzler it's worth a try
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