Peggle is unquestionably a “must have”

Posted: May 12, 2009 in Puzzle

There are few things in video games, or in life for that matter, that are sure things or at least close to being one. Peggle for the iPhone/iPod Touch comes as close as you can get and anyone looking for an addictive game can do no better than this. With few exceptions, the devs have managed to bring that experience in the palm of your hands. I’ll be the first to admit that back in my day, I was never really interested in Peggle for whatever reason so this review is coming more from a Peggle outsider.

Peggle has more 55 levels and four modes of play: Adventure (campaign), Quick Play (arcade), Duel (hotseat two-player) and Challenge (40 additional levels that are unlocked once Adventure mode is completed). Note that in Quick Play, you can only play boards that you’ve completed in Adventure mode. The goal of Peggle of simple: clear the screen of the orange pegs with 10 balls. In practice, accomplishing that can be quite the challenge. Peggle is all about skill in ricochets and angles because this is one game where the bounce of the ball matters. You only need to know two things about the controls: the launcher at the top of screen can be moved and angled based on touch, and the Fire button is self explanatory. You can also zoom in/out by tapping the screen.

Of course, there are other things that you’ll want to know (and which I’m obliged to tell you the few who haven’t yet tried Peggle). Pegs come in four colors: Blue, Purple, Green, and Orange. Blue is the common the peg, outnumbering the other pegs. Purple is the high score peg that will help you rack up some big points. Green (like M&Ms) is your magic power peg, and can conjure up multiple balls, providing trajectory tools to help with aim, etc. And finally, Orange is the treasured peg that you need to hit.

One of the things that differentiate Peggle from other similar games is the fun and lighthearted look and vibe. The game feels like a big cartoon production especially with the Masters of each Peggle world. Bjorn Unicorn, Jimmy Lightening, Kat Tut, Splork, Claude Lobster, Renfield Pumpkin, Tula Sunflower, Warren Rabbit, Lord Cinderbottom and Master Hu are to Peggle what Superman was to the Superfriends and the Hall of Justice. For example, Bjorn Unicorn is your Super Guide, who shows you how to angle shots, while Jimmy Lightening teaches you the power of multiball. Each has a unique power that you can utilize as you move through the levels.

The scoring systems are just as elaborate with proclamations such as Extreme Fever. A free ball bucket is constantly moving back and forth at the bottom of the screen, and if a ball happens to land in there, you get the ball back for an extra shot. And, if you whiff, hitting nothing but air on a shot, there’s a coin flip to determine if you should get an other shot. And, I can’t forget the Fevermeter that gradually lights up as you knock off orange pegs, awarding score multipliers. In addition, you also receive style points for creative shots and long shots that travel a distance across the board. I can go on and on about the scoring, but I think you should discover more of that on your own.

Accompanied by beautiful background designs along with colorful pegs and blocks, you’ll find each level exudes a unique personality. As I mentioned the gameplay is rather simple combining both luck and skill, and comes down to how the ball bounces. And throughout the game, you’ll receive reminders of how many balls are left as well as highlighted orange pegs so you know where they’re located. On the very last orange peg you hit, the game goes into slow-mo accompanied by some operatic music to celebrate your impending victory. Peggle also offers a replay option of your last victorious board clearing hit which can also be saved in case you want to gloat. Upon completing or failing a level which you will undoubtedly do, a stats page appears showing everything from total score and level score to style points and fever score. You even receive points based on the number of tries it took to complete the level.

One minor issue with Peggle is the lack of background music or more accurately, the low level to which it’s set. With headphones on, the background music comes through, but without them, you wouldn’t know there was any music included at all. Hopefully the music bug is fixed in a future update soon because it does take away from the overall feel of the game.

Peggle is one of those games that will grow on you if not quickly, then soon. And, now I know why people are addicted to it.

Albie Meter: 5 Stars (Outstanding)

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