What is Peggle? That was the first question I had when my friends were saying that they couldn’t wait for the game to come out. Funny thing about that is that they had no idea, they just knew what they had heard about the game: that it is very addicting. Well, when the time came for me to make a decision on whether to buy the game or not, I couldn’t rightfully make that choice by going in blindly. So I downloaded the trial, and after playing for five minutes, I snatched up one of the most addictive and enjoying puzzle games to date.
Starting out, the first thing you notice is that the game uses some bright, pastel colors and cheerful music. It’s pretty relaxing, and you will carry that mood with you into the game. In Peggle, there are a total of 55 story levels, which are broken down into eleven chapters and each chapter has five of those levels each as well as containing a master that will help you complete the, at times, challenging levels, more on that a little later. Now, the whole point of Peggle is to clear all the orange pegs in each level. You do this by shooting a little ball out of a cannon-like device in which you can aim to the left or right. The game is all about finding the best angle in which to shoot said little ball. To guide you in this, there is an arrow that shows where your ball will hit initially.
You don’t want to approach this game with the mentality of just wanting to clear the orange pegs. You want to hit the other colored pegs as well to get combos and points so you can get extra balls. In all, there are 3 other colors of pegs: green, blue, and purple. The blue pegs don’t do anything special, while the purple pegs are a point boost and the green pegs are the master power pegs. The master powers are useful when blasting your way through story mode. As previously stated, there are ten different masters each bring a unique power to the game. They range from a unicorn that extends the helper arrow to an owl that gives you Zen that looks for the best shot possible.
In story mode, you don’t have to worry about getting points as much as you do when you unlock the 75 Challenge Mode levels. In Challenge Mode, there are different objectives you have to do in order to complete the challenge. They get progressively harder the further you get, so practice, finding the best angle, and using the powers of the different pegs is a must. Plus, the more points you get in each shot can earn you extra balls. For example, if you are able to get 25,000, 75,000 and 125,000 points in a single shot, you will receive three extra balls. As you clear the screen, it will get more difficult to hit some of the pegs, but if you time it right (and this goes for any part of the level) you can get the ball in a bucket at the bottom of the screen. Doing this causes you to get a free ball. So not only is this game about clearing orange pegs and angles, but timing as well.
The controls are really simple. The left stick (or D-pad) moves the helper arrow to the left or right and the A-button shots the ball. That’s it. Sometimes you will use other buttons, but that depends on what master powers you want to use. The look of the game is very colorful and bright and typically puts you in a pleasant mindset when playing Peggle. Even when the game gets hard and frustrating, I find myself trying to get mad at the game but cant due to the cheerfulness. The music helps set the mood as well, especially at the end of a level when you beat it. When you shoot the ball towards the last orange peg on the screen, the camera zooms in on the peg when the ball gets close, tympani drums do a roll, and when the ball hits the peg, fireworks explode and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” starts playing. That really makes you feel like you accomplished something special.
After completing the Challenge Mode and the story, you can either go back or try to beat your scores in story mode, play Masters Duel, or take Peggle online. In Masters Duel, you choose which master you want to compete against, and then you play to see who can get the most points. But the twist is you take turns and, of course, the board doesn’t reset. So as the pegs are hit, it gets more difficult to get a lot of points. For online play, there are two multiplayer modes. The first is a two-player duel, which is essentially the same as the masters duel Finally there is a Peg Party mode in which up to four players compete on the same board simultaneously. That can get very hectic, but extremely fun.
So, what is Peggle? It is a game that requires you to think, use different angles and timing to complete the game. It is a game that makes you sit back and rethink those strategies. But most importantly, it is a game that is extremely fun and addictive. You won’t find a better puzzle game on the XBLA. This game is more than worth your $10, even though at times it can get intricate, it doesn’t take away any of the fun that is Peggle.