Archive for April, 2009

Peggle – XBLA, 800 points

April 18, 2009


Vinegar is a smell I’ll forever more associate with this game, because I still remember the night I discovered Peggle. I was googling ‘physics based games’ when I came across a blog which reviewed just those very games. Peggle immediately stood out. I downloaded the trial and less an hour later I was typing in credit card details, paying what seemed like far too much for such a simple game. My parents had just arrived home with chips. They asked me if I wanted any. I said yes. Vinegar flooded the room as “Extreme Fever!” was reached in a flurry of triumphant fireworks and joyously overzealous music. It was from that moment onwards I wanted- no, needed an Xbox Live Arcade version complete with all the improvements that would bring. My prayers were finally answered not so long ago.

Like many games, Peggle is deceptively simple. You control a mechanism at the top of the screen which fires one ball at a time. Once the ball is fired, physics determine the outcome. Your objective: Clear all the orange pegs. Blue and purple pegs are for extra points. Green pegs activate character specific powers. Get the ball in the moving bucket at the bottom and you’ll be rewarded with another ball. In a nutshell, that’s it. However, the difficulty of each level ramps up quickly, forcing you to use your green pegs wisely, choose the order of your shots carefully and plan ahead. The clichéd phrase “easy to play, hard to master” has never been more appropriate in relation to Peggle. There’s certainly an element of luck involved while playing but that’s just the nature of the game, for better or for worse.

The XBLA version of the game is a perfect port from the PC original. Controls feel spot on despite the absence of a mouse, characters and music still ooze charming personality and hearing the warm ‘ting’ of a freshly hit peg never gets old. Most noticeably however, is the inclusion of online play in the form of two modes. Duel and Peg Party. The former pits two players head to head, while the latter allows for up to four players to simultaneously attempt to top each other’s scores. Both are well presented, run smoothly and set to deliver hours of entertainment.

I dare you to play it and not get addicted.

All praise the mighty Peggle.