Review: Peggle (XBLA)
Tobacco, heroin, Peggle.
What is there to say about Peggle? Well, it’s a Pachinko-style puzzle game and it’s addictive as crack. Originally released on the PC just over two years ago, it’s a wonder why an XBLA release has taken so long.
The main objective is to clear each stage of all the orange pegs by launching a ball from the top of the screen. As well as the orange pegs, the stages are mostly made up of blue ones arranged in various patterns mimicking the background art, as well as one purple peg that provides a score multiplier when hit and randomly changes place after each turn. There are also two green pegs which, when hit, activate the special powers of the specific character of each stage with there being ten characters in total.
These powers include a more accurate shot guide arrow, one that eliminates 25% of the orange pegs and pinball-style flippers which allow you to keep the ball in play for longer. Some of these powerups last for a single turn, while others last for up to three.
You start off each stage with a set number of balls (ten) but extras are obtained by either landing the ball in the catcher that constantly moves from left to right at the bottom of the screen, or by achieving a high enough score with a single shot. Once all the orange pegs have been cleared, “extreme fever” begins where the bottom of the screen splits into five openings each offering adifferent value of score which is added to your current total.
The game contains fifty five levels in the main Adventure mode, as well as a challenge mode which includes increasing the number of orange pegs to fifty five(!) and limiting you to fewer balls. The competitive Duel mode lets you play against either the computer or a human opponent, taking turns to achieve the highest score. a new addition to this version is the online Party mode where up to four players compete with each other.
Peggle is another game from the ever expanding range of addictive puzzle games aimed at the casual games market from developers Popcap. So the question stands is there more to this game than something to kill some time for bored housewives?
The game plays like a mishmash of Pachinko and Breakout/Arkanoid and your objective is to clear the screen of all the orange pegs. You do this by firing your ball from the top of the screen down onto the arrangement of pegs below and you only have a limited amount of balls.
Luckily you get some power-ups to help you to complete the levels. These are triggered by hitting the green pegs and you get different power-ups depending on which character your choose. You unlock more characters as you play though adventure mode. As well as adventure mode there’s challenge mode and on-line versus, to add some longevity to the game.
This game is perfect for when you only want to play a game for a short while or like I’ve had recently little desire to play anything that’s too in depth. The down sides to this game are the graphics haven’t been improved on at all from the PC version and at 800 points its more expensive than you can buy from Steam.
Secondary Score: 7/10
With the transition from PC to XBLA, one of the few negatives is the control method. When using the mouse, wherever you click is where the ball will hit unless there are still blue pegs in the way. However, in this version that is obviously not possible due to using the pad. It is much less precise and can often affects your shot accuracy. In the upcomingNintendo DS version the shot guide arrow has been extended to combat this and it would have been sensible to include this in the XBLA version as well. Another negative, if you can call it that, is the whole element of randomness and luck within the game. The positioning of each peg is randomised every time which means if you have the patience you can just keep restarting to get the green pegs in roughly the places you want them to be. The luck and randomness also means unlocking some of the achievements can become a real pain.
Despite it’s simplistic gameplay, Peggle is one of the most addictive games I have played in a while. It definitely has that “one more go” appeal and there is so much to like about it. From the quirky characters to the emphatic moment where the ball dramatically slows down before you hit the final orange peg and Ode to Joy triumphantly plays. Other little touches such as the “bing” noise esculating in pitch with each successive hit add to the charm. Peggle definitely provides some of the most satisfying gaming moments you will play.
For 800 points there is certainly plenty of content here to keep you happy for that price and surely after this, the release of Peggle Nights on XBLA at some point is a certainty, and I can’t wait for it.