By Nate Adcock on Sat, 05/30/2009
There are few games that can display an eye-rolling status message of “busting rad moves” during the loadup phase of the game and survive to tell about it, but Peggle might be able to get away with it. If one’s tongue stays firmly in one’s cheek while they play, that is. The graphics are cheerily cartoonish, and the gameplay is engaging and fun to match.
The comments from the tutorial characters made me almost laugh out loud a couple of times…uh, a “Master” named “Bjorn Unicorn” is one of your Peggle teachers. I haven’t had this much fun reviewing a game in a long while. Thanks PopCap!
Peggle is a svelt 10MB compared to most iPhone games, which usually double or triple this size easily. You can grab it from iTunes by going here. The game is compatible with both iPhone and touch, but will require OS 2.1 or later. If you often get games directly from the app store on your device, you should also sync your unit via iTunes regularly so that your apps are backed up on your PC as well. When you start it up, the above splash screen is displayed with some random catchy comments (catchy from like 1990), and that dreamy sunrise song from every cartoon ever produced in history (I can’t think of the name of the piece??)… made me feel all snuggly and nostalgic!
Note: I didn’t have any problems with the game, but as always, it’s a good idea to perform a reset (long press—around 10 seconds--home button and sleep/wake together until Apple logo appears) after loading a new game.
Peggle is a pinball style of arcade game, sort of like Pachinko. The physics are at least similar, as balls are launched from the top, and bounce their way down to the bottom. Each peggle object or peg you strike is highlighted (which scores points), but to advance you must clear the board of the orange (red) colored pegs or objects (every object your ball bounces against disappears). This becomes an ever increasing challenge as you progress through the levels, as you get only so many balls to ping against the orange pegs, and the harder levels present a greater spread and increase in number of objects to clear. There is a catcher bin that slides back and forth at the bottom, which will, if you are very good (or mostly lucky), catch your ball before it falls through the bottom (and to Peggle oblivion). This will recycle it back into your remaining shots. The main object is to launch in a way to score multiple hits or maximize your dwindling supply of balls. You simply line up your shot and press the fire button. Each level features a different peggle scene/background and different constructs/barriers to enhance the ricochet factor, etc.
Peggle Scoring, Power-ups and Control
The PC version of this game has been very popular for some time now, and based on the average iTunes App store scores (if you believe them) and number of reviews it has garnered, I’d say that Peggle hasn’t done badly on the iPhone either (4 1/2 stars at last check). The game play has some well orchestrated aspects, such as the power-up features that apply for certain colored pegs. The multi-ball level, for example, features green pegs that spout an extra ball when struck. Some power-ups will give you better aiming ability when lining up your shots (see second shot below). You also get extra credit or style points for making hard shots or just getting lucky (say a rebound shot that ricochets against two improbably located orange pegs). You can use a screen double-tap to zoom up for a better look at shot angles, and finger sliding (or the large scroll wheel on the right) can be used to aim your Peggle cannon. Peggle offers a colorblind mode by adding symbols to non-red/blue objects, and also a lefty mode as well (simply swaps the control slider and fire button).
Peggle Game Levels and modes
My favorite part of the game though comes at the end of each round, when you finally strike the final orange peg. Once the shot is underway, you’ll know if it was good or not, because the view will suddenly magnify to a slow-motion shot of the ball striking home, accompanied by Ludwig Von Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Your ball then caroms slowly down to the bottom bins, each with a different point bonus potential.
The animation and colored lights that accompany this fanfare leaves you wanting more, and indeed, the game also has a replay feature that allows you to relive your fabulous shot again. You can also save your replays if you like. As you graduate to higher Peggle stages, you also win Peggle trophies.
The bonus multipliers, and excellent gameplay aspects ensure that you will likely get hooked on this game. The game does not appear to have any on-line aspects, like posting top scores or your replays (i.e. adding a short vid-clip of a great shot), or maybe an Internet Peggle tourney mode, which would all be great additions to the game.
Peggle has 4 play modes, which includes 55 levels and 40 additional challenges:
- Adventure: Normal progression through the first 55 levels in single player fashion
- Quick Play: Quickly replay a level that has been previously unlocked (completed)
- Duel: Head-to-head action between you and another player (turn-based)
- Challenge: 40 challenges unlocked after Adventure mode is completed
Peggle is a lot of fun, even if a bit on the campy side. The silliness of it grows on you as you play, and you find yourself craving that final slow-motion shot that indicates that you successfully cleared the level. It’s like the satisfaction of a slam dunk (not that I would know what that’s like). You can listen to your own tunes while you play, but the game currently lacks any in-game backing music, which would enhance the addictiveness of the experience. The developer promises to add that soon, since it was a common gripe in the comments I read, and detracts from the overall quality of this kind of game. You can grab Peggle in the app store here via iTunes. It should show up in the device-side App store if you simply search for the keyword “peggle”… It’s currently $4.99