Peggle was described to me by Garth Chouteau, PopCap games’ PR wiz, as “pinball-meets-pachinko-and-starts-dating-billiards-on-the-side.”
Be warned: once you start playing Peggle you’ll have a hard time stopping. If you have ever watched or heard of a pachinko machine, the game at first glance looks similar to that. It features lots of pegs that the balls that fall from the top have to hit, but that’s where the comparison stops.
Whereas pachinko is completely based on luck, Peggle is a highly skilled game. The object of each level is to hit every orange peg. When a peg is hit, it will be removed from the board, and points are given after the ball leaves play. The ball is aimed and then shoots out with some force. This allows it to bounce more than a real pachinko ball would.
Only if you were the rainman of geometry could you actually predict where the ball is going to travel. The game is also made interesting by having the “Free Ball Bucket,” which gives the player a free ball if the ball lands in it. This is useful on all levels, and on some challenges, it’s the only way to beat the level. The Free Ball Bucket also has sides off of which it can bounce balls, and this can get more pegs before the ball leaves play.
After all the orange pegs have been hit, the game goes into an extreme mode, where the Free Ball Bucket is removed, only to be replaced with a set of holes worth 10,000-100,000 points. This can quickly increase the score, and it may be needed for some of the score-related challenges.
The dual mode allows up to two people and the computer to play on the same level together. They take turns shooting the ball. This is interesting because you need to be careful what shots you open up, as your opponent will get to go after you. You also want to be the person to get the last ball, in order to get the end-of-level bonus. Unfortunately, the dual mode will not work between two computers, so both players have to be sitting there to play it.
I give the game a 9 out of 10; I love the game, and it’s very addicting. I wish they had allowed dual mode to work over the Internet, though. There is also, quite unfortunately, only a set number of levels, though, in all fairness, there are a lot of them.
PopCap has also released a guide for playing Peggle at www.popcap.com/extras/pegglestrategy
Learning Curve: [rating:5/5]
Overall: [rating:5/5] Editor’s Choice