From Lightning Games and Playaholics, the Flash-based Lightning Pool brings all the accoutrements of modern electronic entertainment to the classic game of billiards. Race against the clock as you collect power-ups and coins, unlock secret levels, avoid obstacles and, of course, clear the table with style and finesse in this addictive take on pool.
Each level begins with six red balls and one black ball. You can save the black ball for last to get a bonus but, unlike in eight ball, sinking it earlier will not result in a loss. Aim the cue stick with the mouse and hold the left button to determine how hard to strike the ball. The color of the crosshairs will fade between yellow, representing the most force, and red, representing the least. It's impossible to ignore the huge numbers steadily counting down to zero in the center of the table, but relax and concentrate before each shot; sinking the cue ball will cost you 4 seconds, and some of the hazards often littered on the table can do even worse. Thankfully, you won't be forced to replay previous levels, unless you want to attempt a better score, as Lightning Pool saves your progress and even the number of times you've attempted each table.
Analysis: Beginning with fairly conventional power-ups and items such as stopwatches and coins, and culminating with pockets that snap shut and a table set above a vast abyss, Lightning Pool stays fresh and fun by providing new challenges with every level, although after number 15 they begin to repeat. For those looking for a truly high score there are even several secret levels, unlocked by collecting 10 of the coins randomly found on the table. In the end, though, Lightning Pool is still pool, and if knocking a bunch of balls around with a long stick isn't your idea of a good game, all the quirky levels and collectible items in the world probably won't make it any more fun. However, billiards fans will find a lot to like here, and a serious challenge to boot.