Side Pocket

Side Pocket is a billiards game for the Game Boy. Honestly, there’s not much to tell here as there’s not really a story so if you don’t know how to play billiards then just Google it. There are two modes you can pick from. One mode is a single player campaign where you try to get enough points to advance to the next round. The other is just a more standard billiards game that can be played alone or with two people. The campaign gives you a limited number of shots. You retain shots if you get balls into the pockets, but you will lose shots if you miss or scratch. Between rounds you’re given opportunities to do a trick shot in order to get some more shots back. Making shots is pretty easy. You can aim all around the table with a trailing line showing you what direction you are aiming. You hit A to start your shot and a ball will move left and right across a power meter. The left is the weak end and the right is the strong. You can also hold B before you start your shot and move the control pad up, down, left, or right in order to control what part of the ball you hit, thereby controlling the spin. Also, simply hitting B will switch between the pictures of the balls and the plain numbers. Sometimes during play a star will appear in a certain pocket. Sinking a ball into that pocket will net you a random reward, be it points, extra shots, or sometimes nothing.

It’s a pretty good simulation of billiards for Game Boy. The campaign is fun for longer sessions of playing, and the simple 9 ball game is nice for shorter bursts of play. It’s neat that you can hand off turns for multiplayer too. The music is pretty catchy and the mechanics of making shots have a surprising amount of depth. The trick shots and starred pockets are a nice little touch, and the ability to switch between the balls and the numbers is helpful for being able to see what is what. However, the lack of color to represent the balls is a bit annoying. Hitting B to switch between numbers and balls AND to change your shot is a little annoying too as sometimes you will try to line up a specific shot only to have the balls switch to numbers. There’s also not much music in the game. There’s really not much to the gameplay besides… ya know… billiards.

Overall it’s really nothing special. I do remember playing it as a kid so there’s a bit of nostalgia there, and it’s not bad for just being billiards on Game Boy. There’s really just not enough here to bother paying anything more than 5 bucks for. There are plenty of better Game Boy games for you to get instead. I’m almost sorry I bothered to take the time to review it. Side Pocket is fine for what it is, but it isn’t much to begin with. It’s worth a look, but really nothing else. 

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