Bottom line: Roundguard is a fun mash-up of Peggle puzzle mechanics with roguelike RPG action. There is a surprising bit of strategy and planning required if you want to rack up a high score and get far along in the dungeon.
Peggle and RPG gameplay mechanics
Distinctive play style for each hero class
A lot of skills and loot to acquire
High replay value
Roguelike elements not for everyone
Not as easy at it looks
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Since Apple Arcade debuted last year, there has been a steady trickle of new games coming in each month. And one of the recent releases, Roundguard, is exciting to me for a few reasons. First, it looks like the original PopCap classic, Peggle, and secondly, it mixes that classic puzzle mechanic with RPG elements.
When I saw the screenshots for Roundgaurd while browsing through Apple Arcade, I was sold! And if you are like me and loved the original Peggle, along with any puzzle RPG game, then you don't want to miss out on Roundguard.
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It's the perfect mix of Peggle and RPG
What is Roundguard?
Long ago, there was a game that I loved from the now-defunct PopCap Games (bought out by Electronic Arts) called Peggle. This was an insanely addictive little puzzle game that I've been missing for years.
Peggle involved shooting a limited number of balls from a cannon at the top of the screen, and the ball would end up in a field of colored pegs that it would bounce off of. Think of Plinko from The Price is Right — eventually, the ball would drop off at the bottom after going through a bunch of pegs and clearing them out.
A tried and true formula reimagined
Roundguard takes this basic mechanic and implements it into the game in the same fashion, but you know, instead of pegs, you have crawly critters, goblins and trolls, and other dungeon creatures. There is also no ball — the hero is the one doing all the bouncing around. There are also red health potions and blue mana potions that are scattered among each level too, and pots need to be smashed through (two hits) before they're cleared out. But how do you get rid of the enemies?
A unique playstyle for each hero choose what you like best
There are three different character classes: Warrior, Rogue, and Wizard. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, along with a distinctive play style. For example, the Warrior has the most health and hits hard, but needs to be close up to the target to attack. The Wizard, on the other hand, has the least amount of health but the most mana and can dish out pretty significant damage from afar. And for the Rogue, she is in the middle, but her attacks require precision, so it takes a bit of getting used to.
No matter which hero you pick, the premise of defeating enemies is the same. Each one has their base attack power for when you bounce off an enemy, but each enemy also has their own attack value, so you take that much damage in return. Once the enemy's health bar drops to zero, they're defeated and will clear out the next turn. To launch a hero, just drag your finger across the screen to aim, then tap to fire.
You'll need to hit enemies a few times before they're defeated, notably stronger ones and bosses. Using your special attacks, which is done by tapping the left or right halves of the screen, deals more damage, but you all heroes need mana to use those, so if you're out, make sure to hit up a mana potion. And if you're low on health, bounce off a red potion to heal up. Brown pots are going to get in the way of you reaching your enemies, so make sure to get rid of them first by bouncing off of them twice. And watch out for the spikes at the bottom — try to land on the pillow if you're able to, so you take no damage.
It's always a fresh new experience on each run
Every stage has some bonus objective that nets you more gold or loot for clearing them, but they are optional, so it's not mandatory to complete a level. When you defeat all enemies on a stage, the bottom of the screen will have some treasure piles, and you can get some gold and a skill upgrade or gear to equip, depending on the pile you land on.
With Roundguard, the objective is to rack up as many points as you can, which is the total amount of gold you earn from each run. Once you reach zero health and die, then the run ends, and you'll have to start over in the next run.
While the game looks simple on the surface, there is a bit of strategy and planning involved with aiming your hero, as well as when using your special moves, especially the rogue and wizard. And since each run is randomly generated, it's always a different experience, adding to the overall replay value.
I can lose myself to this for hours
Roundguard on Apple Arcade: What I Like
When Peggle first came out, I spent dozens of hours on that game, making sure I beat every stage, and then I still kept playing. I loved it that much. Roundguard gives me that same feeling I had when I first picked up Peggle, and I'll admit that it's taking some time and practice, but it's downright a ton of fun. The controls are easy and intuitive too, so it's not frustrating.
The added RPG element really makes the game. Each character has a nice variety of different skills, and each one can tweak the playstyle slightly. The loot you can find and equip also boosts your stats, as well as leveling up, so I am enjoying seeing how far I can get every time. And if I don't get far, I just take it as a learning experience for the next run.
You don't really see a lot of Peggle-like games out there, so Roundguard is definitely one that caught my eye, and I'm glad I took some time to give it a go. If you enjoyed Peggle at all, then this is a must.
It's more challenging than I originally thought
Roundguard on Apple Arcade: What I Don't Like
Again, Roundguard does have the roguelike element in it, which means that if you die, then you're dead. All progress you made with that character is gone, and you'll need to start from scratch on the next run. I know that this is a style of game, but it's not for everyone. If you don't like the idea of losing all of your progress after death, then this game may not be for you.
Still, though, the game itself is fun enough that you'll want to keep playing anyway.
A nice distraction
Roundguard on Apple Arcade: The Bottom Line
If you enjoyed games like the original Peggle, and always appreciate the dungeon-crawling RPG titles, then Roundguard is one you don't want to miss. It's fun, addicting, and has a ton of replay value. Just be warned — once you die, you will have to start over.
Bounce to victory!
Roundguard is Peggle with RPG elements mixed in. It's actually more challenging than it looks, but there is a ton of skills, loot, humor, and replay value.
Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.