Thursday, 11 September 2014

Peggle


Unicorns, dragons and owls coming up.

It's hard to describe this game in a simple manner without it sounding like a pile of pants. Take a vertical drop board, add in a lot of brightly coloured pins and bricks, most of them blue, some of them orange and give the player several ball bearings they can drop in from the top of the play area. Watch it bounce around the area like some Two-Penny Shove It arcade until it hits the bottom and any of the pins and bricks it hits are removed from play. Rinse and repeat until all orange pins and bricks are gone or the player runs out of balls.

Doesn't sound like much does it. Thankfully, Peggle is a lot more than that.

Lots of levels on offer

Peggle, fundamentally, is similar to Pachinko where in balls are dropped down a table of sorts and depending upon where they end up and how they get there, players are rewarded with more balls and such. In Peggle, players are rewarded with points based upon various combos and qualifiers such as attaining a long shot to reach a target orange, or hitting several oranges consecutively. There's also other bonuses coming from hitting the randomly chosen pink peg which will boost your score for the remainder of that shot.

Annoyingly, the most prickish looking ones are the most useful.

Each usual level has a limit of orange blocks (not including special challenge levels), the more blocks that are removed from play, the higher the multiplier within the game for that round, boost this with the pink peg and you can really start stacking up with extra balls to help you clear the level of all oranges. On top of all this, there's the "bucket" that steadily sways back and forth along the bottom of the arena, land your ball in that and you instantly get another ball to play with.

Take aim, fire, wish for the best.

That's not all though, you've a selection of colourful characters that also have a special ability. Be it having a longer projection distance, explosive impacts, temporary flippers like a pinball table, flaming destruction that passes through blocks, a touch of the random selection, an instant return ball, multiball, improving shots and more. Though you need to play through the adventure mode first to unlock the characters, a second play through will give you the ability to choose whomever you wish for every level.

Ooh look, themes!

It's a simple game, almost too simple in some regards but there's a lot of charm and appeal here for people to enjoy time and time again. Whether it's trying to play through and beat all of the levels or taking on the task of beating high scores, or going one step further and attempting the challenge modes where players take on a multitude of tasks from beating levels with fewer balls, beating a series of levels with one set of balls, beating a level with a minimum requisite score and in some cases, a combination of all of the aforementioned criteria. 

The alien gets to blow things up, no fair!

Thanks to the easy 'pick up and play' learning curve, even the first few levels slowly introduce the bonuses and specials, allowing players to get to grips with the physics of the game before we start hitting them with a gradual trickle of new features but the crowning glory likely goes to the music and audio of the game, in particular the rendition of "Beethoven's 9th" every time that you succeed in beating the level which plays with enough frequency to always feel like you've earned the win that you've achieved.

Harder to see here, but parts of some levels also move.

It's a game for many. For those who want to master every possible trick shot and every single special ability to maximise their gaming potential and scores or for those that want a quick pick up and play session with little need to commit a huge amount of time to the game. Peggle is a peg that fits many a hole.