Snooker Nation Championship has been in Xbox Preview for quite some time. I downloaded it when it first came out in 2016 but when my trial was over I didn’t return to it, until this week.
I play a lot of PUBG. More recently I finished Jurassic World Evolution to it’s 100% conclusion. I love those games but both can be very stressful.
The final 10 of PUBG is like being in a penalty shootout against Germany. Having a T-Rex is great but when it gets out it can undo so much work towards a 5 star park rating. Sure, you have the best fences that money can buy but a tropical twister will rip that shit up. It’s just a lot, you know? I needed something else to play, something that I could be invested in but not something that would stress me out. Enter Snooker Nation Championship.
I’m a sucker for a Snooker or Pool game, even the bad ones with Mob and Hustler gimmicks. Snooker Nation Championship comes from Cherry Pop Games, developer of the excellent Pool Nation FX. SNC certainly does feel like a reskin of their Pool sim, after all, it is one!
Apart from the obvious differences in rules, table size and frame length SNC plays exactly like PNFX. Having jumped back and forth between the two for comparison I can say that the lighting, shading and overall visuals are vastly improved for Snooker Nation. However, that’s not the important part.
It’s all so calm, quiet and relaxing after months of PUBG, Rainbow Six or even FIFA. Maybe I’ve been playing too many competitive online shooters or, you know, offline stressful Dinosaur-em-ups. Playing Snooker Nation was like a weekend away in the country, free from the bright lights and city sirens of home.
I couldn’t quite shake the competitive edge so I jumped straight into Championship mode. I was here to relax but wins and losses do matter after all. Championship mode basically reflects the actual World Snooker Championship. You play some qualifying games and move on to the tournament proper. Each new round means more frames and it becomes about endurance. It can take some time to get through later rounds if you have the difficulty set a little higher. You could sit there for a few minutes as your opponent makes hit way around the table. Waiting, always waiting to pounce on any mistake.
The atmosphere is perfect. It’s hushed, save for the understated applause from the spectators and the announcer who counts along as you add to your break. The piercing sound of the cue ball being struck. The crack of the white as it splits a pack of reds. The thud as a strongly hit black clatters the frame of the pocket. It’s great. I have a good sound set up and it was turned up quite high to soak it all in. Pointless and indulgent you might say but I needed it. I wanted to play a game but it had to be something relaxing. I’m not one for whale music or meditation or any of that bollocks, video games can be relaxing too.
I spent my teenage years in a Snooker club so this was a nice little nostalgia trip. Snooker Nation Championship is still in Game Preview so it is yet to add some more complex modes or features in the vein of Pool Nation FX. I would love to see a 90’s setting thrown in complete with Benson and Hedges sponsorship, old school scoreboard graphics and poorly fitted suits but I don’t hold out much hope. Their version of The Crucible is called The Foundry, call it the Henson and Bedges World Championship! Let’s just have some fun, shall we?
I didn’t come here to review Snooker Nation Championship. I came here to talk about a great little game that people may have missed. It’s currently free to try on Xbox One and only €5.99 to pick up after that. It’s worth every penny.
Get your dressing gown on. Get that hair wrapped up in a towel. Slip the face mask on and get those aching feet in the foot spa gurrllll. Kick back with Snooker Nation Championship, you’ve earned it.
Top Tip: You can get the achievement for a 147 break in practice mode. You can Press B to pick up the cue ball and place it wherever you want at any time without affecting the break…gurrrlll.