Billiards is one of those genres that never really gets updated. Sure, as time passes and technology improves, the balls get rounder and rounder, and the physics get a little more accurate. But other than including a few more variants and making up new ways to include a trick shot mode, the genre hasn't really jumped forward since the days of the NES. Of course, neither has the actual sport of billiards, so you can't exactly fault the genre for for doing a good job duplicating games like 8- and 9-ball for the past decade.
Billiards Master lets you play 8-ball, straight pool, 9-ball, and rotation against a friend or several different AI opponents. The AI plays differently depending on which opponent you choose. Some opponents play a very streaky game, while others simply dominate the table from beginning to end.
When you've got the cue stick in your hand, you're given all the standard options you'd expect in a pool sim. You can put a little (or a lot of) English on the ball, change the angle of your stick, switch between an overhead and a behind-the-cue-ball view, and, of course, line up and take shots of varying strengths. Lining up shots and adjusting shot strength can be done with the D-pad or the analog pad, and this game is easily the best at showing off the advantages of having an analog D-pad and analog buttons. You can tap the D-pad for slight movements, or you can mash it down for full-speed rotation. For even finer adjustments, the analog stick comes in handy.
The "new" mode added to the game doesn't try to reinvent the trick shot yet again. Instead, this mode, called frozen game, challenges you to get as close to a ball as possible without pocketing it. In later challenges, you'll have to pocket one ball before getting close to the frozen ball - all in one shot. It gets sickeningly hard, but it doesn't start off in a compelling enough way to get you hooked. There is also a lesson mode, where your supervisor introduces lessons. Then, after a screen full of Japanese text, you're left on a pool table to execute your lesson. There's also a dictionary of pool terms.