More fun than I have had with a game in a long time, Peggle is the latest arcade action game from PopCap, and available as a download for Windows or Mac. Think of a pachinko machine and an upside-down breakout game and you will be close to the unique and simple gameplay found in Peggle. It made me giggle with delight.
Each level in the game consists of a variety of pegs arranged in formation—some formations are stationary while others move in undulating patterns. The objective is to clear all the orange pegs from the board by hitting them with any one of 10 balls that you start with. Using the mouse for aiming, fire a ball in the desired direction with the click of the mouse and then watch the results. It's just that simple to play.
If the ball happens to land in the 'free ball bucket' that automatically slides from side to side, then you are awarded a free ball! You are also awarded a free ball by racking up 25,000 points with a single ball. You will learn to carefully aim and time your shots as you improve your skills as there is much more to Peggle than simple blind luck(!)
To help you get started in the land of Pegopolis, you are tasked with completing a series of 10 training missions of 5 levels each. These comprise the Adventure mode of the game, which you must complete to move on and unlock the the more difficult Challenge mode. The training missions give you a chance to familiarize yourself and play with the Peggle Masters, each of whom represents a different type of power-up. A power-up becomes activated when you hit either one of 2 green pegs on every board, and their effects range from showing a visible guide for aiming your next shot to the powerful fireball that destroys all pegs in its path. Becoming familiar with the power-ups and how to get the most from them is important if you are to succeed with the more challenging levels in the game.
Once Adventure mode is finished you will then be able to begin chipping away at becoming Peggle Grand Master, reserved for only those players who can complete all 75 increasingly more difficult challenges. For example, in Adventure mode you only have to clear 25 orange pegs on each level. In Challenge mode there are 5 levels each in which you need to clear 35, 45, and 55 orange pegs; 5 levels in which you need to clear ALL PEGS; 5 levels in which you need to score 300,000; etc.
Analysis: I laughed out loud my first time playing, and I couldn't stop playing until I had all 55 levels completed in Adventure mode. It's just that much fun! It is such an easy game to understand and get started with, and yet you will discover that you simply can't succeed by just dropping balls haphazardly. There is a skill element to it that gives the game its depth, but it's deceptive. Not until the later levels when you find yourself quickly running out of balls will you realize a few strategies are needed to become a Peggle Master.
However, not only is the gameplay remarkable, PopCap really nailed this one in terms of enhancing the user experience. Through a concert of both sight and sound, a stunning display of particle effects explode on the screen to reward the player at the end of every level. But even more impressive is the dramatic, slow-motion, cinematic close-up just as the ball approaches that very last orange peg(!) And when the ball finally lands on it, the heavens open and a chorus of angels sing Ode to Joy! How cool is that?! Well, let me tell you, it doesn't get any better.
Oh, wait, yes it does. You can view an instant replay of any ball you've played and even save the replays to your computer's hard drive for later viewing again and again. You can even trade and share these replay files with others to show off your Peggle prowess. Lots of attention to detail can be seen throughout the game, from its gorgeous graphics and animations, amazingly realistic physics engine, colorful and infectious soundtrack, even the accessibility options available for colorblind individuals.
You can now Get Peggle for your iOS device!
The downside is that the game does eventually become difficult. Some levels will have you playing again and again and you will still come up short. It can be a little frustrating. But concentrate on maximizing every shot and you will (eventually) succeed.
Peggle is a classic casual game: simple to understand, easy to pick-up and play, and difficult to master. Find yourself the nearest PC and download it now; it is very likely you will giggle with delight when you play as I did.