Peggle Xbox Live, PC
What more is there to say about Peggle? Winner of numerous awards from around the globe, the highly addictive puzzle game has – at last – made its way on the Xbox Live Arcade.
For those of you that Peggle has passed by, it is, like all good puzzle games, simple in its design and execution but a joy to play. The screen is filled with 25 orange pegs, along with a large number of blue pegs. The objective is to clear all of the orange pegs with your limited supply of balls, fired from the top of the screen. A bucket moves back and forth along the bottom of the screen, and if the ball reaches the bottom and enters the barrel, you get to keep that ball and reuse it. That’s essentially it. It sounds very simple, and possibly not that much fun, but ask anyone who’s played Peggle and you can almost guarantee that they’ll say it’s more fun that most games, and very addictive too.
There are a good number of different characters (or Peggle Masters) to play as, and while this has very little aesthetic influence, each character has his/her/its own special ability that will aid you in some way. There are a couple of green pegs scattered amongst the rest of the orange and blue pegs, and hitting one of these initiates said ability. From powers that affect the ball, like making it reappear at the top of the screen once its reached the bottom for another run through the pegs, to modifications to the barrel that aid you in saving a ball, there’s a good mix of powers to choose from. Playing through the Adventure mode unlocks these new characters in turn and you’ll soon learn which character’s ability is the best to use on certain levels.
Obstacles such as ramps, bumpers and portals will hinder your quest for clearing all of the orange pegs, and so making good use of the abilities at hand is vital. Of course, racking up massive point tallies is also part of Peggle’s appeal. Whether it’s clearing all the pegs off the screen, both blue and orange, or getting big combos and scores in single shots, there’s plenty of scope for high score challenges and this plays a big part in the game’s addictive nature. Purple pegs, which change position on each turn, provide a bigger score when hit, and if linked with hits on orange or green pegs, can lead to some big multipliers.
There’s certainly some skill involved in Peggle while plotting moves and gauging your shots in time with the bucket. But there’s also a point where luck takes over and you’re never quite in total control. When the ball’s bouncing around the screen in between pegs, off walls and rolling down ramps, your chance of success is dependent on luck and ultimately out of your hands for the most part. It’s testament to the quality of the game though that every level is winnable and always keeps you coming back.
There’s a lot to do in the game as well. Aside from the main Adventure, which includes 55 levels, there’s a quick action mode (play any level with any character), master duel (where you take on one of the Peggle Masters) and challenge mode (different levels with set objectives). Multiplayer is available through Peg Party and Duel modes. Peg Party sees you taking on friends, all on separate screens, competing for the highest score. Not exactly ideal, and not really taking full advantage of what could have been an even more addictive and entertaining mode; four players on the same screen, all firing balls in an attempt to hit orange pegs and get the highest score. Still, when the game’s this good, an oversight like this is forgivable. Duel mode is simply you against a friend, either locally or online, again taking turns to compete for the highest score.
While the game’s great to play, it’s also great to look at. Visually Peggle is top notch. Bright, clean and vibrant levels, interesting backgrounds and a colour-blind mode all add to the game’s appeal, accompanied by excellent sound effects and decent BGM.
For those who have already played Peggle in PC or other platform will have nothing new to see here. The Peggle Nights sequel is not included and there are no new features apart from the Peg Party mode, which really doesn’t warrant any additional interest.
Peggle is unique among puzzle games though, in that despite never being particularly challenging, it’s still great fun to play and is the very definition of that ‘just one more go’ feeling that some games evoke. A very pure, fun experience that appeals to gamers of all ages, and a great example of simple, but effective, gameplay. Top draw.