Snooker 19 Review
Reviewed on Nintendo SwitchAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4, PC and Microsoft Xbox
I have not played a snooker video game since Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker back on my old Atari ST. What a game it was too, it was a lot of fun and a younger me spent many an hour potting balls and making high breaks. Snooker 19 is an officially licenced snooker game on the Nintendo Switch and includes all the official tournaments and players currently in the game.
Snooker 19 has already been released on other platforms and the latest release sees it make its way onto Nintendos popular portable console hybrid. I was really looking forward to getting stuck in and I think portability will be a good fit for a game like snooker and you will be able to play it while doing other things. Especially if your opponent is on a high break and your spending a lot of time waiting for your shot.
From the outset you can tell Snooker 19 has a very professional 'TV' style to it, from the camera angles to the various UI elements, it all looks very polished and as if you are watching it on the television. The game includes many modes, from two different careers to several multiplayer modes, it includes a wealth of stats, rankings and even a hall of fame. If you are a snooker enthusiast, everything is here for you and it is all presented very pleasantly.
You have two career modes to try, a current pro career mode or you can try and rise up the rankings with an upcoming novice in the Rising Stars career mode. The choice is yours. Your career spans all the tournaments you would expect and you accrue ranking points and cash as you go. I liked the career mode but would have liked to see more interaction between tournaments and maybe a few more elements to break up the matches. It was fun though and the actual snooker is where this title shines.
The match snooker engine is superb, I found it hard initially as the shot execution is very different from snooker games I had played previously. Not only do you have to line up your shot and work out the positional side of it but you have to stop a meter to determine accuracy, much like a golf game. This adds a whole new level to executing your shots and I really like it, no shot is guaranteed and you really have to concentrate. I really enjoyed it.
The presentation of the matches really is top-notch. Your shots are played out in three phases, firstly you like up the shot from above the table, then you have a behind the cue view to fine-tune and finally, a TV-like view while you try and stop the accuracy meter. It gives the whole presentation a very professional and immersive feel. Quite often it did look like you were watching a real snooker tournament, it all feels very genuine.
With all this excellent presentation and a very good snooker engine, there were a few things that irked me. The commentary had really got on my nerve by the time I started writing the review. It was very repetitive and sometimes was not representative of what was happening on screen. I had to turn it off in the end. Luckily you can leave the referees sound on separately as that was all I required.
Also, my Nintendo online has lapsed recently and I was constantly bombarded with prompts to sign up. I understand its required for online play but I got a prompt every time I booted up or even woke the Switch up mid-match. It did become quite annoying. Hopefully, this can be patched so you only see it when you go to play online. This may not even be an issue with the game itself and with the operating system of the Switch but it was still irritating either way.
Graphically, Snooker 19 is very good. The characters models are excellent and the snooker table and balls are all rendered very well. Especially when you consider you are playing on a portable device, everything is crisp, bright and quite attractive, well as attractive as a snooker game can be anyway. Soundwise, apart from the aforementioned commentary, everything sounded authentic and enjoyable.
Performance-wise, Snooker 19 performed admirably. I did have the odd long-load back to the main menu but apart from that, there were zero bugs, issues or anything of that ilk. I had zero framerate issues and everything worked very well. You were left to enjoy what is a very good snooker simulation. I enjoyed it a lot, even with the few small issues that I encountered. These small issues were in no way game breaking though and they should not put you off trying Snooker 19 on the Nintendo Switch.