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Saturday | August 18, 2018
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Peggle (XBLA)

Peggle (XBLA)

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PopCap Games are a developer and publisher who have been happily going about their business with an array of inexpensive games available for both the PC on the Steam platform and on the next generation consoles via the relevant online stores. They tend to focus on simple and addictive puzzle games such as Bejeweled, Zuma and Feeding Frenzy.

Peggle does not make a break from tradition for PopCap games and once again we are presented with a happy, fantasy style storyline with silly characters such as a dragon named Lord Cinderton. They make no attempt to sell the game with gore or deep adult storylines because you either accept a Popcap game for what it is, or you laugh sarcastically and return to fragging your mates in the latest first person shooter title.

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Peggle has made a journey from other platforms before hitting the Xbox 360 Live Arcade. The PC had the original game with an expansion called Peggle Nights. Even the Ipod was home to its own version of Peggle which proved a big seller for the Apple machine. The Xbox 360 version has 55 puzzles as well as 75 challenges and features a few multiplayer modes and online leader boards that are home to the best scores and replays of all the best shots. This costs 800 Microsoft gamer points ($10) so it shouldn’t prove to be too much of an investment. After playing this game for around two weeks it would be safe to say that this is a great value for money investment.

Just like the majority of addictive puzzle titles, Peggle is simple enough for anyone to pick up immediately and start playing. All you have to do is aim a little ball dispenser and fire with the A button. From this point you can watch the ball bounce its way down through a field of pegs clearing out each one that it hits. It is quite similar in structure to Pachinko but there is a little more depth. The objective is to clear all of the orange pegs before you have no balls left. Blue pegs give you points and annoy when they block your shots while purple ones will give bonus points. Green pegs will activate a special power unique to the character you are playing with. Combine all these game play elements with a bucket that moves across the bottom of the screen (to catch your ball for free plays), then you have a mechanic which offers literally infinite replayability as you strive for the highest score possible.

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Obviously on paper this does not sound like such a wonderful proposition and it is hard to nail down exactly why this game is so damn addictive, but if you sit down and spend some time with Popcap’s latest on the 360 then you will begin to see why it scores so highly. The presentation is first class and the graphics are suitably bright and cheerful. The soundtrack is also equally enjoyable with cheery little ditties as well as Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” making a key appearance throughout the levels.

Although 55 boards doesn’t seem like a lot to offer, the inclusion of Xbox Live Duel and Peg Party modes add enough to make the $10 asking price a very viable proposition. The Duel mode (which can incidentally also be played locally) has players trading off turns on the same board in the search for the best score. Peg Party can be played with up to four players, each independently of the other on their own tables. Although neither of these multiplayer ideas is a new feature on Live Arcade it is the manner in which Popcap implement the features which makes them a winner. Additionally we have been told that PopCap will release more downloadable expansions for the core game in the future. Expect to see Peggle Nights at a later date.

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Peggle is a great game which, for a reasonable price offers many weeks of addictive and compelling game play. There are enough puzzles to keep you hooked for considerable time and there is little to complain about when it comes to value for money. Don’t let the cartoony colours and simple game play design put you off a purchase because like many things in life, the simple pleasures are often also the best. Highly recommended.

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A simple concept, expertly executed.
It is a basic design but it looks perfect for the genre.
Nice and relaxing with some great ambient effects.
$10 for many weeks of enjoyment. A bargain.
(Not an Average)
Highly recommended as a must buy.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

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