With all the talk recently about Peggle, I was surprised that it hasn't been reviewed (although it did get a "quick app" and a pick of the week) so I thought I would download and give it a try. And, well, Peggle has managed to crack my "regular game rotation" that currently consists of only a few other games.
Let me start by saying that as Peggle loads, they took a page from The Sims and actually make you want to read the loading messages.
Peggle is a game based on skill and luck, similar to Pachinko. Your goal is to shoot balls into a pachinko-style board with "pegs", trying to remove all the orange pegs and blocks within a certain number of shots. You can have various power up abilities, lucky shots or skill shots increase your score, and you can earn extra balls by "saving" your ball as it falls or by scoring a certain number of points within a shot. The enjoyment on Peggle comes from two main factors in my mind - the various power up abilities and the variety of boards.
If you start playing in adventure mode, you are led through the game by ten "masters", each of whom has a different power up ability. As they guide you through the game, they teach you the details and the best ways to use their abilities. Once you finish with them, you go back through the same levels with the option of choosing the power up ability you want for each board.
The second biggest positive from the game is the variety of boards. You start off with a simple pachinko style board, but they gradually become more and more complex - with bumpers, with moving parts, with time warps, etc. Each level has specific characteristics that make it challenging, so no two levels will be played the same way. As your progress through the adventure mode, you get various trophies to add to your collection (I am currently running through them the second time in "Master" mode).
There are other game modes as well. Quick play lets you choose a level to play by itself. Challenge mode lets you play a specific levle with a specific challenge (beat a certain number of points, more orange pegs than normal, etc). And dual mode is a two play battle where you play on the same board against either the computer or a friend. Unfortunately, the dual mode is a "pass the iPhone" multiplayer so you can't play via wifi. I was also hoping to see a direct battle where you are both shooting balls at the same time (and can interfere with each other) but that doesn't happen.
Let me just add, when you finish a level, they play Ode to Joy. There nothing quite like having that blast from your iPhone to actually make you feel like you have accomplished something! The game can be replayed multiple time because the placement of the orange pegs (as well as the various power-up and other pegs) are randomized so your strategy can vary even when replaying the same level!
All in all, this is really a great game. Aside from the few minor wishes I had for multiplayer, I could find nothing wrong with this game, and it has "earned" a spot on my permanent rotation of games. At $4.99, the price isn't cheap, but it is well worth it for a game that can be played over and over.
[Peggle is available for $4.99 via the iTunes App Store]
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