Who wants to play some top-down pool with anime girls while earning some easy trophies? If that sounds interesting to you then Casual Challenge Players’ Club from publisher eastasiasoft and developer Yume Game Studio may be for you. Here is my review of the PlayStation 5 version.
Casual Challenge Players’ Club invites you to join a club made up of the country’s most prestigious and skilled pool players. With some many top tier players inside, you’d think the challenge would be difficult but that really isn’t the case. Each table you play at has an anime girl present to be your guide for reasons. That’s the basic set-up and from there you can jump into one of four different modes with those being Story mode, Versus mode, Black Ball mode, and Like a Master mode. Story mode has you playing on over a dozen tables each of which contains three levels. Each level gives you a different objective so one may be to clear all the balls off the table in a certain number of shots. Aiming is handled with the stick and once you got your shot lined up you press square to start a power meter and then press it again when the meter gets to where you want it. If you need a little bit more fine tuning on your aim you can use the shoulder buttons to do that.
Those controls sound pretty easy but the problem comes when you realize there is input lag on the shot meter. Too many times I would hit square again to set the meter only for it not to actually stop when I hit it. Because of this you end up having to try and account for the lag which just isn’t very fun. The game also really has no personality to it as each girl at a table isn’t really characterized and is more there just to look at. Once I finished the story mode, I toyed around with the other modes briefly except Versus which requires another local player. Black Ball just has you trying to knock the black ball into the hole first while Like a Master has you trying to clear a sequence of tables with a limited number of shots and those shots carry between the tables. Outside of that there is really nothing else here to keep you occupied. Had they at least included the ability to play against AI in the Versus mode players who don’t have another local player to play against could’ve gotten more out of it.
Usually, I would talk about the visuals and music at this point but there really isn’t much to say about either. There are only a few music tracks none of which are enjoyable and the visuals most of the time have you looking at a pool table from the top-down that looks like it was made in a very basic app. I guess if you enjoy looking at anime girls it has that but there is no voice acting and as I said before there is really nothing to help them stand out. Trophy hunters will of course find an easy set here of 13 trophies including a Platinum. I won’t take you long at all to earn them as you just have to clear 12 stages in the story mode and you’re done.
Casual Challenge Players’ Club is a pretty weak choice for those who are looking to play some pool. It lacks most things that a pool player would be looking for in a game and the lag in the controls will likely frustrate even casual players. This is one for the trophy hunters who are just looking for another easy completion.
*Casual Challenge Players’ Club is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. PlayStation 5 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.