At times, it can seem like Midnight Pool 3 is trying a bit too hard. In between trips to the baize, you're bombarded with seemingly superfluous features.

There's an RPG levelling system, a store full of upgrades to spend your in-game winnings on, and even a story to play through.

I mean, how much narrative justification does anyone really need to play a bit of 8-ball?

But while their presence might not be necessary, that isn't to say these additions aren't welcome. Midnight Pool 3's story is an endearingly ludicrous one, in which every dispute is decided with billiard balls, and every narrative beat takes place next to a felted table.

Pool party

But in between the levelling-up and the melodramatic exchanges of dialogue you'll actually play some pool, and it's here that Midnight Pool 3 shines.

You view the table from a top-down perspective that's functional rather than flashy, and line-up shots with the assistance of on-screen aids that are helpful without neutralising the challenge.

There's a pleasing sense of heft to Midnight Pool's physics, too, and the opposition AI exhibit the proper blend of flawed competence that makes for entertaining match-ups.

And although the Career mode's raft of features seems superfluous, all of the levelling, upgrades, and narrative silliness actually do a fine job of hiding the fact that the Career mode is just a long sequence of pool games, lending a sense of progression to what could have been a long, dull tournament.

We can only hope that more sporting franchises come to adopt the same approach, and we can look forward to FIFA 13 working similarly hard to motivate players with plot. Perhaps kidnappers have taken your family, and their only ransom demand is to see you beat Sunderland at their home ground.

Big break

But those who'd rather skip the melodrama are still well catered for. Pass-the-handset multiplayer and various Quickplay options give you quick access to the tight pool gameplay without having to wade through hammy dialogue.

The Trickmaster mode is another well-considered addition, offering dozens of trick shots to attempt.

It's well-suited to quick bursts of play, and while showboating exhibition shots aren't the most exciting spectacle when viewed from a top-down perspective, it's yet another engaging feature in a game that seems determined to keep you interested.

Midnight Pool 3 is a comprehensive package, with game modes and features to satisfy just about anyone who can identify the business end of a pool cue.

But the most important thing is that its interpretation of pool – whether you're playing standard 9-ball, UK or US 8-ball, or one of several other games on offer – is one of the finest you're likely to find on your mobile.