If you have never found yourself needing to play a particular video game before, there is a good chance that Peggle will become your first digital addiction. Like video game crack, Peggle will mindlessly entertain you for hours, will make you catch the Extreme Fever, and will have you humming Ode To Joy at each productive activity you perform in everyday life.
PopCap Games, makers of other smash hits like Bejeweled, Zuma, and Feeding Frenzy 1 and 2, have recently ported over Peggle to the XBLA. For 800 spacebucks, you definitely get a lot of game: over 50 puzzles, a ton of challenges, a couple multiplayer modes, and leaderboards for high score bragging rights. Unlike the DS and PC version, this XBLA game does not contain the expansion, Peggle Nights. However, the game is DLC ready so adding more puzzles in the future is a high probability.
Peggle is considered a puzzle game even though the game is composed of about 10% skill and 90% luck. Similar to a Pachinko machine, the player shoots a ball at the top of the board and gravity will eventually force it to the bottom. However, during the ball’s trek to the bottom, pegs will keep the ball bouncing around while the player is rewarded points. Each time the ball touches a peg, it disappears. The goal is to eliminate all the orange pegs on the board before your stockpile of balls has been depleted. While the player’s focus needs to be on the orange pegs, all the other pegs play a critical role in the success of the game. Blue pegs add points and basically get in the way of the orange pegs, purple pegs reward mega points, and green pegs will unlock a special ability, like the ability to control the first bounce or explode like a bomb.
Even though it is possible to go back and play the same board, each game will be extremely different every single time. The game is based around randomness…perhaps this, mixed with its casino game flavor, is why Peggle is so addicting. Making the game even more random is the bucket that scrolls around the bottom of the screen. If the ball lands in this magical pot, then the player can then reuse that same ball instead of losing one to the abyss. This instant 1-Up keeps things interesting and makes the player smile in excitement every time it happens.
Using detailed 2D vector art, the game’s pastel colors gives the game simple but meaningful presentation values. The happy colors and sounds can make you an easy target to get made fun of by your friends, but the cheery presentation sets the tone for the game’s overall fun factor. And when the ball is about to nail the last orange peg, the game zooms in and slows down time, creating a breathe-taking moment. Once that last peg bites the dust, the screen explodes with rainbows, confetti and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Strangely enough, this ending never once grew old or annoying even after beating dozens of levels. In fact, experiencing this colorful, over-the-top ending to each stage is one of the best rewards in recent memory.
The DS version of Peggle may feature 125 stages, but this XBLA version has Live Duel and Peg Party modes. Played either locally or online, Duel mode will have players alternating shots at an attempt to obtain the higher score. The Party mode can be played against four other players but each player will play on their own board. The multiplayer isn’t mind blowing, but it doesn’t really need to be.
It seems like every XBLA game that has come out in the last 12 months is 800 MS Points ($10) or more. However, Peggle is one game that is definitely worth its weight in gold. For some reason, it is hard to explain why Peggle is so addicting. Perhaps it is the colorful presentation, or maybe it’s the simple luck based gameplay, or the quick and casual style of play makes it very easy to just pick up and play. No matter what the reason is, Peggle is absolutely worth the $10 price tag. At the very least, download the free demo. It is pretty much guaranteed that you will be hooked before the demo is over.