Peggle Review

Peggle XBLA Review

Info:

Experience the ball-bouncing, peg-busting phenomenon sweeping the globe! Do you have what it takes to become a Peggle master? Conquer dozens of levels with 10 different characters, each with a unique special power. Face off against two to four friends in multiplayer and test your skills with the Grand Master Challenges. Take your best shot!

Players: 1-4
Released: 2009


Reviewed March 2009 by Jamie Davies

You have to hand it to PopCap, they certainly know how to make an addictive game. With successful titles like Zuma and Bejewelled under their belts, they’ve built up a strong following long before Xbox Live Arcade existed, putting together fun titles that keep it simple but are very addictive.

Reminiscent of the pachinko machines that are so popular in Japan, the aim of Peggle is to obtain points by hitting pegs. While all pegs score points, hitting all the orange ones are ultimately what’s required to finish the level. To do this the player has a limited number of balls that can be angled and then fired from the top of the screen, hopefully bouncing it off as many pegs as possible as it descends. Once the ball hits the bottom of the level it is lost, although there is a bucket that moves back and forth. If the player is lucky enough to get the ball into this then it gets saved and can be reused.

The game features various characters, or Peggle Masters, on each set of levels. Rather than being needless additions to the charming bright and colourful presentation of rainbows and sunshine, each one has a special ability. These are triggered by hitting the very limited number of green pegs that are randomly inserted into each level and, depending on the character, this will activate bonuses such as multi-balls, add a pair of pinball style flippers to the bottom of the screen to allow an extra chance to save a wayward ball, or increasing the size of the bucket for a limited number of rounds.

With its simplicity Peggle is horribly addictive and once you start playing you’ll find that it’s packed with that “just one more go” ingredient which PopCap seem to have narrowed down to a fine art. Whether it’s mastering complicated high-scoring shots, landing an impossible strike from one side of the screen to the other, taking out a load of pegs for a bonus and then landing it in the bucket for a free shot, or the triumphant chorus of Beethoven’s `Ode to Joy` which bursts through the speakers following the slow motion approach of the ball to the final peg (the Peggle money shot, if you will) then there’s enough moments in just one play session to justify the purchase.

Although there are already various iterations of Peggle on different platforms, new to this console version are the online multiplayer and Peg Party. These allow players to play at the same time (but not on the same screen) in a bid to get the highest score. There’s also online leader boards so you can compete with the highest ranked players or people on your friends list.

There’s a good reason why Peggle already has a strong following and this version will no doubt end up with even more people nursing an addiction. If you’ve never played Peggle before then this is as good an excuse as you’ll ever need to dive in and enjoy. For those who are already initiated to the joys of Peggle then the online mode is robust enough to act as an incentive to buy it again and rekindle your obsession.