What happens when you take a galaxy of stars and frozen meteors and send a ship plummeting through it, bouncing off of everything it hits? The fourth seasons finale of The Jetsons! Ho ho ho... I kid, really. There were only three seasons.
OR! It could also be Star Beacons, a pachinko-style arcade game from Steel Panda Studios. When an evil space armada captures a planet of jolly water creatures who use a giant star as their source of light, it's up to you, an intrepid waterite in a cool spaceship, to scour the deepest depths of space to retrieve the pieces of your broken star/sun.
In each level, you'll find yourself positioned at the top of the screen with a bunch of stars, meteors, and other space creatures scattered below you. Use your mouse to guide the turret, and click to fire a pellet at the space matter below. Anything your ball bounces off of on its way down the field is removed from play. On the way down, you might also encounter frozen blocks that shatter on impact, solid meteors that can't be destroyed, and aliens shooting at your ball. Naturally.
There are twenty levels to conquer, as well as five unlockable bonus levels. Given the limited supply of balls to shoot, can you conquer each level and restore your star to full brightness?
Analysis: Hey, look, it's Peggle! No, not quite, but Star Beacons does bear a resemblance to PopCap's megaton downloadable. Beyond the fact they're both pachinko games, of course. It might be unfair to compare a free browser game to a years-in-development title from a huge studio, but it's impossible to play Star Beacon without thinking of Peggle. The resemblance isn't necessarily a bad thing.
For starters, the basic setup in Star Beacons, from the block arrangement to the visual style and overall cartooney atmosphere, is practically Peggle Light. Aiming works in a similar manner in both games, though you can't fine-tune your shots here, only use the mouse to aim and fire. The physics in Star Beacons sometimes feel a bit off, as a one pixel difference can send the ball flying in a completely new direction. Also, don't expect to find any power-ups other than the occasional exploding item. Star Beacons is straight-up pachinko.
Star Beacons isn't the first game to borrow from Peggle, and it certainly won't be the last. But what it lacks in originality it makes up for in faithfulness to the source and raw fun factor!
The game is also available to Play at Kongregate