UPDATE: This game has been shutdown and is no longer available
Cue Online Overview
Cue Online offers an in-depth pool experience by giving players very detailed control over their shots. It supports four classic billiards games and up to eight players per table. The ability to aim every shot just as you like it makes Cue Online a deeply skill-based game with little left to chance. This is a boon to those looking for a technical billiards simulator, but it comes with a steep learning curve, especially for players with no prior pool experience. Luckily, a short tutorial and a rewarding practice mode are available to teach newbies the ropes.
8-Ball - The most popular pool game across the world. Played with sixteen balls, including a white cue ball, 7 striped balls, 7 solid balls and the black 8 ball. Each player (or team) is assigned either the striped or solid set of balls depending on which type is first pocketed. The ultimate goal is to pocket the 8 ball, but this can only be done after one player (or team) has pocketed their set of balls in order.
9-Ball - Popular in tournament play, 9-Ball requires 9 numbered balls and a cue ball (for a total of 10.) The objective is to pocket the 9 ball but the cue ball must strike the lowest numbered ball on the table before hitting any other balls. Additionally, any ball (including the cue ball) must make contact with the rail to avoid a foul.
14-1 - Also called straight pool, this is the most traditional and classic pool game. Players can pocket any ball at any time but must call which ball and pocket they’re aiming for prior to each hit. Each legally pocketed ball earns the player 1 point. Whoever reaches a predetermined number of points wins the match.
Snooker – An interesting cue game popular in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations, Snooker requires a total of 22 balls including 1 cue ball, 6 colored balls, and 15 red balls. Players compete to earn points by pocketing balls. Red balls are worth 1 point while colored balls are worth 2-7 points each.
Cue Online Screenshots
Cue Online Featured Video
Cue Online Full Review
By Erhan Altay
Cue Online was released to open beta in the middle of May 2009, making it the second major, free-to-play pool game after Carom3D. Cue Online is published by GamesCampus, the same portal that hosts other sports-related MMOs, including Shot Online and MLB Dugout Heroes. Compared to other titles, Cue Online is a tiny download; at only 38 mb the client is easy to obtain even for those on slower internet connections. The game is a true billiards simulator, with intricate controls and the ability to line up each shot just as you like. To find out if Cue Online is worth a shot, read on!
Hit The Pub
After a brief download and installation process, players are ready to hit the pool room but must first create a character. There are currently four avatars to chose from in Cue Online, three males and a single female each with a different distribution of five stats. These stats include Strength, Control, Bridge, Masse, and Jump. Beginners are best off choosing the character with a balanced distribution of these stats, though more experienced players can experiment with the other options. As far as appearances go, it makes little difference which character you pick since players are not visible while playing games, only hovering pool sticks are shown. A brief, optional tutorial runs players through the basics and can be repeated at any time through the lobby. The controls are not difficult to understand, but require a lot of work to master. The mouse controls the camera, hitting ‘ctrl’ brings up the strike meter, which lets you chose how hard you want to hit the ball with the cue. Holding shift zooms in on the ball and lets you align your shot by choosing where the cue will strike the ball. Aiming low will cause the ball to bounce, while aiming to the sides will cause the ball to curve. Mastering these techniques is the true test of skill in Cue Online.
Chalking it Up
The tutorial also introduces players to ‘chalking’, which is the process of rubbing that little square thing on the end of the pool stick. Players have to keep their equipment well chalked to maintain proper surface contact with the cue ball. Chalk bricks come with a limited number of uses, which means gamers will have to purchase new ones as they run out. This serves as one way of keeping players coming back to the game’s item store. Even many of the sticks and other equipment players purchase at the shop comes with a time frame or a limited number of uses. The best sticks and chalks are more expensive than the standard fare, but offer small advantages. During my first few games I forgot the chalk my pool cue (which caused me to make several poor hits), but after asking for help I was informed on how to equip the chalk brick. By hitting ‘c’ players apply chalk, but may have to repeat it several times to get the stick to 100% readiness. Simply purchasing the chalk is not enough; while in a game, players must open their character info menu and drag the brick to the left of the screen to equip it. Hopefully having read this will save some of you a few minutes of frustration.
Pool From Across the World
Cue Online supports a total of four game types, some of which players may not be familiar with. Almost everyone has heard of 8-Ball, the most popular form of pool enjoyed across the world. But other variants such as the fast-paced 9-Ball and the old school 14-1 (aka pocket any) make an appearance. Most interesting of all is Snooker, a strange variant popular in the United Kingdom and former British colonies, such as India. I’ve provided the general guidelines to all four game modes in the overview section, but prospective players are encouraged to do further research before jumping into a game for the first time. The single game server is broken down into many channels, each catering to a different skill group. Novice and beginner rooms are the most populous since the game is still new, but there are several mid and expert level channels for those who have made it that far.
The Long Haul
Leveling up in Cue Online takes quite some time, but not because the experience rate is slow; its mainly because gameplay in general is so slow. This is pool, after all. It is a turn-based game where each player takes the time to line up his or her shot perfectly. Up to eight players can participate in each game, but I would not suggest playing anything other than 1v1s simply because each rotation takes far too long. Leveling up earns players attribute points, which can be distributed among the five stats. This adds some customization to the game without unbalancing it. Since the game client is so small, the game’s graphics are barebones. The lobby screen is very plain and when players start a game, their characters are not displayed. All that is visible is a pool table in the middle of a rather fancy looking club room with a rug under it. The graphics for this area are pretty impressive – I even zoomed out and spun the camera just to admire the design, but it can get boring after a while. Perhaps if more environments were added in upcoming patches it would spice things up a bit.
Final Verdict: Fair
Cue Online has everything dedicated pool fans are looking for. Detailed controls leave nothing to chance, the better player will generally win a match. Casual players can enjoy a single game once in a while, but anyone who isn’t already a pool enthusiast will quickly tire of Cue Online.
Cue Online Videos
Cue Online Character Creation & Tutorial
Cue Online Gameplay Footage
Cue Online 8-Ball Video
Cue Online Official Trailer
Cue Online System Requirements
OS: WIN9X, WIN2000, WINME, WINXP
CPU: Pentium III 450MHZ
RAM: 128 MB
HDD: 500 MB
Graphics Card: 32mb video memory
OS: Windows XP / Vista
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 1.0 GHz or better
RAM: 256 MB or more
HDD: 1.0 GB
Graphics Card: Geforce4 65mb or better