Kimberley Ellis
18 Mar, 2009

XBLA Peggle Review

360 Review | Once you pop, you just can't stop.
With the recently released XBLA version hooking in console gamers left, right and centre, we here at PALGN thought it was about time that we took a look at the puzzle game phenomenon that is Peggle. If you are one of the few that has managed to bypass this addictive puzzler, we think it's about time that you give in to your peg-popping urges and give it a go.

Give in to the extreme fever!

Give in to the extreme fever!
At its core, Peggle is a tricked out derivation of the classic title Arkanoid. The game starts with a cannon at the top of the screen which players use to aim and launch pinballs into the playing field. The aim of the game is to get the pinball to bounce its way through the peg-filled playing field, shooting the coloured pegs with a limited supply of balls - although there are various ways to clear win extra balls - with the ultimate goal being to complete the level by clearing the playing field of all of the orange pegs before you run out of pinballs. At this point you're thinking that Peggle sounds a little too simple for your tastes, yes? Perhaps, it is. That is, until you factor in two very important elements that keep this delectable puzzle title from being an absolute snore fest.

The first factor is that Peggle is ultimately a game of chance. Yes, having a penchant for angles can help you to a certain extent, but even the cleverest math brain can't factor in every variable. In fact, at times you'll find yourself completely infuriated at Peggle as you watch your perfectly aimed shot take an unexpected bounce and sail into the abyss below. But, for every misfortune that you suffer there is a glimmer of hope to fulfilling your ultimate goal - the bucket. The bucket can ultimately be the difference between you moving on to the next stage or grousing over the fact that you have to restart the level all over again. It is this element of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat as your emotions bubble in your chest, hoping against hope that you'll get a kind bounce - only to watch in dismay as your final shot misses the target and unkindly bounces off the lip of the bucket. But it's ok, you can always have "just one more game", or so you keep telling yourself until you blink and realise that you've lost a couple of hours to Peggle's addictive nature.

Giving flower power a whole new meaning.

Giving flower power a whole new meaning.
The second aspect of the title that keeps the fun factor intact is its presentation. Yes, it's bright and colourful - and looks like a unicorn has thrown up on it, but as you delve into the later levels of Peggle, you'll soon find that the cutesy, kitsch soon transcends into the absurd as you are overlooking playing fields consisting of flying pigs and meditating chickens - and you can't help but being drawn in by all the craziness. Then there is the sound.

The constant wall of sound that Peggle presents will have older players shutting their eyes and waxing nostalgic of the videogame arcades of yore - bringing back every smoke filled minute, ear-numbing sound effect that kindled the spark of a love for electronic entertainment within them. Alongside the constant dings, whoops and other miscellaneous sounds, its Peggle's music that really pushes the message home. Yes, the MIDI soundtrack will have you looking around for an elevator nearby, but the perfectly crafted harmony that the game presents is more than enough to overlook this fact. In fact, the music in Peggle is so well crafted that it can easily be compared to a musical score, as every action you take is represented in the music to the point that you really don't need to have visual representation to tell you that what's going on in the game. As the pinball hits each peg the music gets higher and higher, building to a crescendo until your ball steadily falls into the black - and then the rhythm builds again. The real musical kicker occurs when you clear a stage. As you are about to take out the last orange peg, you are zoomed in to a close up of the ball and peg, the game slows down and tension builds as you wonder if your shot is going to hit. Then EXTREME FEVER, the ball makes contact with the peg and fireworks erupt as Beethoven's Ode To Joy (aka the Everybody Loves Raymond theme song for those not well versed in classical music) plays to signify your triumph. You'll hear this tune played over and over again, but in all seriousness you'll never tire of the pure rapture that it elicits as it inspires a sense of overwhelming achievement out of you.

Peggle: an ode to joy.

Peggle: an ode to joy.
With enough packed in here to make the asking price a definite investment (such as the inclusion of higher difficulty levels and a Master Duel mode which pits you against the CPU), the glorious addition of multiplayer modes is a nice bonus that will defintiely appease the fanbase that has been crying out for its inclusion. A two-player game of Peggle - which can be played either over Xbox Live or on the same console - lets you take turns with a buddy to see who can outscore each other on the same level, while the four-player Peg Party gives everyone a copy of the same level to see who can score highest. Another great feature about Peg Party is that after you have taken your shot, you can have a peek at the other player's Peggle board to see the status of your playing field compared to theirs. Even when jumping into the game of a random stranger, the turnover of players between matches is scarce, to the point that "just one more game” turns into "I'll keep playing until everyone else quits".

In the last two years, Peggle has charmed its way through casual and hardcore gamers alike across a variety of platforms - PC, mobile phone, iPod, Nintendo DS and now Xbox Live Arcade - for one really good reason: it's just a bundle of addictive fun. So if you are yet to be hooked in by coloured pegs and unicorns, it's time to feel the extreme fever and grab a copy today.
The Score
If you are yet to be hooked in by coloured pegs and unicorns found in Peggle, it's time to feel the extreme fever and grab a copy today.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related XBLA Peggle Content

Xbox Live Deal of the Week - 23/11/09
24 Nov, 2009 Extreme Fever time as Microsoft unleash a trio of specials.
Peggle Nights expansion heading to XBLA
27 Aug, 2009 Because you can never get enough Peggle in your diet.
Peggle coming to XBLA this week
10 Mar, 2009 Ball-bouncing madness comes to the Xbox 360.
5 years ago
Peggle is the single most casual game I've ever played. Good stuff.
5 years ago
PALGN wrote
Beethoven's Ode To Joy (aka the Everybody Loves Raymond theme song)
Um, no, Ode to Joy is not also known as a stupid TV show's theme song.
5 years ago
I played the demo last night and couldn't get off of it... over and over...
And when Ode to Joy kicks in and the EXTREME FEVER begins...
ARGH it's like a Peggle Orgasm!!!
5 years ago
It's like the gaming equivalent of crack, in all seriousness. I'm up to the challenges on PC after beating the "story mode" (Air quotes as there is no story to speak of) and its still addictive. I play it when I only have 5 minutes but it always turns into half an hour.
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