Peggle (XBL) – Review

cover Keeping this really short and simple – the Peggle translation to Xbox Live is pretty much all forms of awesome, with the "Peggle Party" addition for XBox Live being a perfect touch.

Overall: A+

If you haven’t played Peggle from the PC side, the game is basically a Pachinko-like game where you shoot balls from a launcher at the top of the screen to a number of colored pegs in a field, though here, if you hit a peg, the peg will disappear after the shot is completed (or in some cases if it is potentially holding up a ball from falling) Twenty of these pegs are randomly selected to be orange, and the goal is to clear all the orange pegs starting with 10 balls.  Of course, there’s ways of getting more balls: getting a good score on a single shot or by landing the ball in a catcher that moves back and forth regularly will do this.  As you clear the orange pegs, your score multiplier increases, so while it may become more difficult to make a shot, going for more difficult shots can really pay off.  A pin is selected to be purple after every shot, and is a point boost to your score, while two green pins randomly selected at the start of the level will activate that level’s current "magic power". There are ten "Peggle Masters" each with a different magic power; some help with your shots, some with clearing the board, and other effects.  Some of these only last for that shot while others will last for the next few shots as well.  When you complete the last orange pin, you then have a simple chance of luck bonus round where you can score more points depending on where the ball lands at the bottom of the screen.  If you fail to clear the board with the allocation of 10 balls and any extras, you have to repeat the board until you do so.


The single player side is pretty straight forward for what you’d expect on XBox Live – high score tracking, the possibility of more levels (what is currently here is the base Peggle package, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Peggle Nights levels come along) via DLC, and the like.  An important factor to some may be the lack of precise mouse control but I will say I believe the controller scheme is well done, having just the right amount of touch and responsiveness to the controls to allow you to accurately line up shots as good as you could with a mouse.  The game is sufficiently addictive and Pop Cap made a nice simple interface to get you right to the game as soon as possible, making it a no-brainer to have as a purchased game. The bonus to this already great game is the "Peggle Party" multiplayer mode, which supplements the obvious online version of Peggle Duels.  It’s competitive, but not interference-type competitiveness.  You each get 10 balls and the same board layout (including positions of orange pins), and you all make your own shots. If you complete your shot before any other, you can sneak a peak at another’s board to see where they’re at. After each shot, the current scores are all tallied up. Obviously, the goal is to have the highest end score; however, there’s a lot of potential strategy here that doesn’t necessarily come about in single player mode.  For example, a skilled player may take his time and wait to make the big score on one of their later balls when their score multiplier is high, easily surpassing those players that may have tripped it earlier on.  There’s just enough strategy here to make the multiplayer fun and exciting, almost like the old party Crash mode of the Burnout games.  Multiplayer is nicely grouped into ranked and player matches, thus allowing you to be as friendly or competitive as you want.


It may not have the deepest gameplay around, but there’s no doubt that Peggle should be a must-have for any Xbox Live user.  It’s a reasonable good and addictive game with good additions and a nice Xbox implementation to make it worth your while.  The only put-off here may be if you just don’t like Peggle (but that’s a rarity) – if you haven’t had a chance to try it, PopCap has a web version on their site, which is sufficiently close enough to the real thing to give you the feeling of the game. But if you loved Peggle on the PC, there’s no question that this will be a hit too.

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