Mar 15, 2010

Carrom 3D Pro

Carrom is a game that has been around now for over a hundred years. It was invented to keep young boys out of seedy pool halls in order to help them avoid the bad influences that congregated in such undesirable places. The Carrom Company itself is based in Ludingotn, MI and has gone through many ownerships and names over the years, but still survives to this day. I should know... I was fortunate enough to pick up a Carrom board at a thrift store last year, but it was missing the parts so I had to order them direct.

Carrom 3D bring this game and another, similar game called Crokinole to the Android. Carrom, as you can guess from its history, is similar to pool. Crokinole is different, but still involves making precision shots to place your pieces and knock your opponent's piece off of the board. I won't delve into the rules... you can read those here.

The game, as pictured, displays a nice, 3D representation of the table that you can easily move around to position yourself for the perfect shot. The game plays well, bar one exception and it's a biggie. I found that whether I used the touch screen or the DPad on my Droid to control my shots it was VERY difficult and annoying to set up shots quickly. I could fiddle with it until I got it right, but that was quite tedious... especially with the touch screen where I could easily line up a perfect shot, but once I lifted my finger the shot changed to one I sure didn't want to take. The DPad has its own challenges as because pressing it in the middle is also a DPad press I'd accidentally take shots I didn't want to. I plodded through trying to adapt to this, but could not compensate with experience. If only the control was better this would be a much better game, and I do NOT fault the developers for this... I'm sure they're just processing the input my Droid provides to the program, but because of this it was a very frustrating game to play.

Despite finding a Carrom board last fall, I didn't actually play on one until two weeks ago at the Fire & Ice Game Convention in Manitowoc, WI. I  already knew it was hard to take a sports game and turn it into a board game... rolling dice to determine if a catch is made or a goal is scored just doesn't cut it. I think this suffers from some of these same issues... lining up a shot and flicking a disc with my hand is what Carrom is about. Dragging on the screen and SEEING actual vectors being drawn on a physically perfect board is not. It might satisfy those that don't actually play the real game or as a quick fix, but it's just not the same. So my first recommendation is to get a real board if you want to play this game... the computer version, while doing about as good of a job as it can, just isn't the same. 3/5 stars.

Edit: This game has been substantially improved since it was first reviewed and this about as good as it gets without playing the real thing. The control system is better among other things covered here... 5/5 stars.

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