Title: Snooker 19
Publisher: Ripstone Games
Genre: Multiplayer, Simulation, Sports, Training
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: Everyone
Release Date: 23/08/19
Price: £29.99 – Rapid Reviews were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Although two and a half years into its cycle, the Nintendo Switch is still lacking in a number of key gaming genres. Whilst we have been blessed with console-defining titles both indie and AAA in nature, there are missed opportunities in abundance. The Sports Simulation category is one such example. I would argue that, outside of Basketball and Baseball, the chance to be crowned the reigning champ of many sports is still up for grabs: American Football, Golf, Tennis…the list goes on. One sport in particular which is, or rather was, high on that list is Snooker.
Looking to strategically aim and pocket the proverbial title of ‘Best in Category’ is Snooker 19 by Lab42. Published by Ripstone Games, it is labelled the ‘official video game of World Snooker’, and with good reason. Jam-packed with every licensed tournament, 128 players to choose from, and live events that are synced to the world snooker calendar, it doesn’t get much more official than that.
Fully-fledged and detailed Snooker sim…
After a tutorial that is simplistic in nature but effective in providing the tools to be a successful snooker aficionado, you are presented with the main menu. Reminiscent of past FIFA titles on the Nintendo Switch, this is the first indication that this is a fully-fledged and detailed Snooker sim. The Career Mode then affirms this, with two excellent options to choose from: Pro Career or Rising Stars. Aptly named, you can either take on the role of a pro at the height of their game or select from one of the many up-and-coming players from around the world. Officially licensed and well-documented, there is evidently a lot of care and attention that has been poured into this title.
Graphically, this game could have and should have looked better. As soon as the AI players approach the table, there is a lack of detail which is completely at odds with the official licensing and well-placed decals. There is also slowdown present as the ball judders across the felt. It is neither game-breaking nor too disruptive to the flow, but serves as a constant reminder that this has not been given the same treatment as the other console versions. That being said, the action on the table itself is executed well. From the bright lights bouncing off the balls to scuff marks appearing on the felt as the game reaches its peak, there is a real feeling of immersion and realism.
The AI is perhaps the one element of Snooker 19 which will make or break the game for players as it is rather unforgiving. Many a time I was unable to pot from the break, meaning I was then left to sit back and watch my opponent clear up. Very rarely did they make a mistake, even on the easiest setting, and I was left frustrated that the match was over before it had begun.
Fortunately, there is an excellent online section to this title which, whilst dependent on the gaming community buying into this Snooker simulator, offers a fantastic avenue to enjoy this game. With every playable mode available online too, the chance to play with others of a similar ability is exactly what this game needs. My experiences with online play where somewhat mixed. It was rare that I found a random opponent, which doesn’t bode well, however when I did, the gameplay was smooth with very little slowdown. It really brought the game to life playing against a human opponent and there is a healthy Snooker 19 community on Twitter to organise games with if you cannot find anyone in-game.
*The recent 1.0.4 patch released during my playthrough provided a number of quality of life improvements, demonstrating the developers commitment to ensuring the Nintendo Switch version is in line with other platforms. The most notable of the additions is cross-platform play between PC and Switch gamers, alleviating some of the concerns around the number of players online. As well as this, the additional camera angles, new game intro video and the Master+ Aiming Aid are also worthy inclusions that develop the much sought-after polish that this game deserves.
Snooker 19 is the very pinnacle of snooker simulation on the Nintendo Switch. Although the competition may be severely limited, any future developers will think twice before going up against Lab42’s offering. It is tastefully done and very much in keeping with the sport, ensuring it appeals to die-hard fans and newcomers to the world of snooker. It is incredibly challenging, and graphically there are improvements to be made, but you can rest assured that this is an excellent sporting simulator and one for the collection.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Snooker 19 from the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch/Snooker-19-1620461.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.