Giant Bomb Review

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Peggle Review

4
  • XBGS

The XBLA version of Peggle is a great way to not do what you were supposed to be doing.

Academically, Peggle might be the perfect game. It has clear, concise goals. It gives you constant feedback as you progress towards those goals. Finally, it gives you more positive reinforcement than your creepy high school guidance counselor. I mean, seriously, this game throws up rainbows and bursts into chorus every time you complete a level. Now that is love.

You did a great job, here's a rainbow!

In practice, though, Peggle is a game that is probably best utilized as a distraction. It's the game you play between playing other games, or doing the laundry, or washing the dishes. Essentially, it is the tool of the devil, and significant others should be wary of even letting it into the house. It's too easy to find yourself dropping time on Peggle, but it's actually difficult to find yourself dropping a lot of time on it. This is because the genius of Peggle is that it never really changes, but it's also different every time you play it.

The gameplay mechanics are simple. At the top of the screen is a little cannon, which you use to aim, and then propel, a little ball downwards. If you fall through the bottom of the screen your ball will be lost, but if you happen to land in the little bucket that will endlessly pace back and forth along the bottom edge, your ball will be returned to you. Now, between your canon and this bucket, the screen is filled with colored pegs, which act as little bumpers for your ball. Essentially, your goal is to eliminate all of the orange-colored pegs on any given screen, without losing all ten of your balls. Yes, it's totally a dolled-up version of Pachinko, or for the daytime TV crowd out there, it's Plinko on very cute steroids.

It's a simple concept that plays on our ability to perceive a sense of control where there is none. Sure, you can aim your initial shot, but after about the first or second bounce, you are at the mercy of the game's physics. This magic formula, the fine mix of perceived control and chaos is why we have a very profitable Las Vegas. You'll obtain various power-ups to help put a little more control back in your hands, but at the end of the day, it's all about how a little ball is going to bounce off a little peg. That being said, Peggle won't be taking your kid's college fund while you progress through its different modes and challenges.

The main focus of the single-player is the Adventure mode. Here, you'll be introduced to Peggle's cast of characters, each of whom bestows a different magical power for use on his or her level. You'll unlock the power by hitting one of the few green pegs strewn throughout the board. So, for example, while you're playing through Bjorn-the-male-unicorn's level, you'll be able to use the Super Guide power, which shows you where your ball will bounce after its initial impact. When you're going through Splork's levels, you'll be able to use the amazing Space Blast. This power is probably my personal favorite, as it indiscriminately destroys a given number of pegs on the board. There are considerable differences in how the powers behave, so not only will they add some variety during the Adventure mode, but later in the game you'll be able to pick your favorite power to use on any map, giving you a chance to vary your strategy.

Another happy Peggle customer. *

Once you make it through the Adventure portion of the game, you'll unlock Challenge mode. This lets you play the Peggle maps with some additional requirements. These range from the inclusion of more orange pegs, to having to clear the entire board of all the pegs. These challenges add a lot more gameplay to the bundle, but I feel they could have been a little bit more creative in the requirements for each stage.

There's also some multiplayer Peggle to be had. You can play online, in a ranked or unranked match, or you can play locally. There's not much variety either way, as you'll be trading turns with your opponent as you both try to get the most points by hitting those orange pegs. Again, it's not the most creative scenario in the world, but it gives you a chance to showcase your Peggle skills, and become the number one ranked Peggle player on Xbox Live!

Peggle is a great game, and it's one that can easily fill those hours you've set aside to actually be productive. Other versions of Peggle have been available for years on the PC and Mac--platforms which, in all honesty, are probably better suited to the game's short play sessions--but the Xbox Live Arcade version is no slouch. It would have been nice to stretch the brain-box a bit with crazier modes or challenges, and the inclusion of a level editor certainly wouldn't have hurt, but at 10 dollars, Peggle is a welcome addition to my procrastination repertoire.

*Not depicted: Peggle

Vinny Caravella on Google+
25 Comments
Edited by LifeByDegrees

Peggle- the game that counts.
Also- multiplayer Peggle can be a ton of fun- my most awesome experience being a arcade machine/Street Fighter style quarter-up tournament with a bunch of cousins during Christmas on my laptop.

Posted by Venatio

Lol at the Persona 4 picture in the review, speaking of which, where is Episode 24 of the Endurance run? I want too watch it

Edited by Pie

Wheres the endurance run?
Good reveiew by the way.

Posted by TheGremp

Nice review.  I loooove them balls.

Posted by Kohe321

awesome review Vinny! Peggle rules! I play it almost daily through Steam.

Posted by TheClap

I love them Balls!

Posted by FlipperDesert

I'd get this, but I already have it on PC and my iPod and I'm fighting the urge to buy it again. Gnaaaah.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

The challenge is to try to bring in a Persona 4 reference to EVERYTHING. 

On second thought...

Posted by MattBodega

I LOOOOOOVE THEM Awesome Persona References.

Posted by Dudacles

Y'know, ever since the endurance run, my opinion of you has changed Vinny. For some reason, you are now my favorite editor on this fantastic site.

Posted by darkjester74

Social Link Established!

Good job Vinny, keep em coming!  =D

Edited by Death_Burnout

Hell yeah Peggle!

Hell yeah balls!

Posted by Claude

I love Peggle, but I wish I could bump it like a pin ball machine... that would be awesome. I can't tell you how many times I jerked this way or that way trying to get the ball to go my way, still a great game.

Posted by RHCPfan24

I want this game, glad it is good for what it is.

Posted by Snail

Who doesn't love Peggle? ^^

Posted by DondonIcon

I love them peggle balls.

Posted by Media_Master

I've played Peggle

Posted by MattyFTM

I'm dreading the inevitable iphone version of peggle. I can see me missing my bus stop regularly as a result of it.

Moderator
Posted by TaintedSun

I've been a Peggle fan for a while now and this review is hilarious. However, I had to stop reading once I saw the Persona 4 image and caption as I'm in class and peeing my pants seems like something my classmates wouldn't appreciate. Nice grab there guys.

Posted by Lassegp

This game is awesome and the point Vinny made about taking a lot of in-between-time, is so true.

Posted by AV_Gamer

I had Peggle Deluxe from the Orange Box on my PC for over a year now. However,  I have yet to touch the game. I just might give it a go.

Posted by DrWhat

Buried treasure! I had no idea I would find this when I typed Peggle into my weird little app that grabs data from the Whiskey API.
 
Peggle really is genius.

Posted by wumbo3000

Why is this the first time I've seen this review? Reviews need more images from different games. Actually, reviews just need that I LOOOOVE THEM BALLLLLZZZZ image over and over in the text. I think that would improve the site dramatically.

Posted by ripelivejam

this is great, needs more views/comments

Posted by Adaptor

this is great, needs more views/comments

Agreed. Came here from the Peggle 2 Quick Look and I'm suprised by how good this review is. Definitely wouldn't mind if Vinny wrote more reviews.