If you’ve strictly been playing on consoles for the past few years, you might not know about Peggle, which has been the virtual heroin for PC Gamers over the last few years. Fortunately, now’s the time to catch the addiction as Peggle arrives on the Xbox Live Arcade, brought to you by casual juggernaught, PopCap games.
The idea is simple. There are dozens of pegs on a board, your goal is to erase all the orange ones on the board by shooting them with a ball. Obstacles to success include other colored pegs, place simply for score, swaying pegs, rotating pegs, vortexes, physical barriers, and a lack of familiarity with advanced physics. You only have 10 shots per board, but over the course of a shot, there are several opportunities to score a free ball by either racking up a high score with one ball, or landing the ball in a pacing bucket at the bottom of the screen.
Peggle offers players a choice of animal (or alien) called “Masters” to the player, each with their own different powers. These powers range from splitting one ball into two, turning the ball into a giant fireball that erases everything in its way, or providing an extensive calculation and altered trajectory of your shot, making it a better shot overall. These powers are activated by hitting one of the green pegs on the board, of which there aren’t many, and depending on the strength of the power, they can last anywhere between 1 and 4 turns. There are obvious gaps in each power’s applications, but they’re all fun to use in their own right.
Peggle’s strong suit comes from the constant positive reinforcement the game offers, for doing what amounts to very little work. For the most part, you have no influence over your ball after initially shooting, and the actual route that the ball will go is wildly unpredictable. Regardless, every peg you hit provides an increasingly higher tone, and when you finally do hit the final peg, fireworks spark alongside a rendition of Ode to Joy. Lastly, your ball will fall into one of 5 pits, worth various amounts of points, and depending on which pit it falls in, you’ll be rewarded with a different caliber of fireworks show.
Peggle offers a whole slew of things to do. Once the main adventure mode is over, a series of challenge boards are offered to the player. In addition there are duel modes and extra challenge modes that have you pursuing various goals. There’s also an online suite available which has similar modes. These are a change of pace from the regular game, and the allocation of turns is different depending on what you’ve chosen to play but they do a good job of encouraging competition amongst players. For the first time, 4 player versus mode is included online. It’s not what you’d think, however, because all players play on a separate board, and then their totals are compared at the end, as opposed to 2 player mode, where both pegglers are sharing the same level.
Peggle is a lot of game at a decent price tag. It’s easy to learn and has the types of bells and whistles that ensure that it’ll never get old. The simplicity of the mechanics might be a bit limiting, but this is a textbook case of being fun rather than needlessly complex.
Colorful Lisa Frank-esque graphics, combines with stylish and creative gameboards, makes for a kid-friendly, sugary presentation.
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Simple yet addictive gameplay is only faulted by an overall lack of player influence.
Overwhelming sense of positive reinforcement via various audio cues. Nothing better than hearing "Ode To Joy" at the end of every level.
People are still playing the original PC Peggle and this is an updated version of it. 'Nuff Said.
One of the best "In-Between" games available on Xbox Live.