I know, I know, Peggle came out in 2007, so you’re probably thinking that it’s too early for a retrospective. Well, I’ve got news for you, that’s 12 years ago, so I’ll do what I want. Plus, I’ve been playing the hell out of it recently on the PlayStation 3. Again, I know that version came out in 2009, so that’s only 10 years, but I direct your eyes to the above. I do what I want.
I’m writing this because I’m pretty much addicted to Peggle in all forms. The first Peggle, Peggle 2 and even Peggle Blast on mobile. Even if the mobile version is artificially more difficult in order to try and take all your money, just like most other mobile games and I’m not here to moan. I’m here to talk about the first game, my love of it and hopefully introduce it to people who never got the chance to play or have never heard of it.
The premise of Peggle is simple, you fire a ball from the top of the screen in order to hit pegs on the way down. You aim, fire and then let the ball do the rest of the work as it bounces off of pegs and hopefully hits others on its way down to the precipice that is the bottom of the screen. It’s as simple as that, but sometimes the most simple games are some of the best. Think Pachinko. There is a lot of luck involved, a lot, but also a fair amount of skill is required and therein lies the beauty. Anyone can play Peggle. Although, the harder levels will require you to become good at the game but anyone who plays Peggle can make some progress and enjoy themselves whilst doing so.
On to the aim of the game, the pegs. The little circular or rectangular bricks that can be destroyed as the ball cascades its way down the screen. As I’ve said, the aim of the game is to hit these pegs, more specifically the orange ones. There are blue pegs (and others, more on these in a second) that will earn you points, but to complete a level and move on, every orange peg must be hit and broken.
The game itself is broken up into a number of worlds, each based around a certain Peggle master who sits at the top of your screen. Remember a second ago when I said I’d tell you about the different colored pegs? Well here comes the information. Each level (bar a few at the beginning that acts as a tutorial for different elements of gameplay) has a couple of green pegs. Hitting these will activate the special skill of whatever master you have in place. Usually, you’ll fire the ball and hope it falls in a way you want it to and hit as many orange pegs as possible. But, for example, if you hit a green peg with the second master (a hamster named Jimmy), an extra ball will pop out and help cause mayhem. Hopefully, this will destroy a bunch of orange pegs. Another master, Lord Cinderbottom, turns the next available ball into a flame that will smash through pegs instead of bouncing off of them as is the norm. An extremely helpful power for those hard to reach pegs. There are plenty more, but you get the idea and like most games, it’s best to try for yourself instead of reading what some journalist has to say. Not that I’m trying to put myself out of a job here.
You start each level with nine balls. Use them up and it’s game over. However, there are methods for gaining spares. At the bottom of the screen, there’s a bucket that moves from side to side and if your ball lands in this bucket, it will act as a free ball. Another way to get a free ball is by amassing a certain number of points per shot. This is made all the easier by the purple pegs, which give you a higher score, as well as certain style points that can be earned. For example, extra points are earned for long shots (hitting one orange peg followed by another which is quite a distance away) or a lucky bounce where the ball hits the edge of the bucket, another peg and then falls in the bucket. There are more but you get the idea.
Once the main game is done there’s the option to play on in the form of challenges. These are extra levels with extra tough win parameters, such as hitting every single peg or getting a certain score. As the name suggests, these are challenging, but I never found them to be unfair.
All of this is set to surprisingly bright and happy backdrops along with upbeat music. Finishing a level causes Ode to Joy to blast out and fill you with an immense sense of triumph. Extra points are then granted for the number of balls that remain unused as well as one final bit of luck. At the end, the bottom of the screen divides into sections with a number of different point values, where the ball lands (which could be anywhere most of the time) is the number of points you’ll get up to a total of 100,000.
One problem I do have with Peggle is the backdrops themselves. They are bright, cute and great to look at. Sometimes too much so. It’s often easy to be distracted by them or to lose sight of a peg as they blur into the background. It’s a minor criticism but I had to be fair and point it out to you.
I don’t think I’ve really done a great job of explaining this game but have a look for yourselves and know this, it’s great fun and well worth your money. It sounds silly but the excitement gained from hitting the last peg you felt was impossible ranks up there with the excitement of any game. Who needs Dark Souls.
Peggle is a silly game. It’s one you can’t help but smile at. You might sit there on occasions and wonder to yourself why you’re playing such a simple game that on the surface seems like it has nothing to it, but deep down you’ll know that’s because it’s fantastic. Peggle is the ultimate “just one more go” game and I recommend you give it a try whether that’s on the PlayStation, Xbox, PC, Nintendo DS or even the mobile version.
Let me know your thoughts on Peggle in the comments below. Have you tried it before or are you now addicted thanks to my recommendation? If that’s the case, you’re welcome.
Steve is the resident Englishman, just don’t hold that against him. He’s been playing games for the best part of 3 decades and will continue to do so for as long as his thumbs hold up. When they no longer work, he’ll still find a way to play Resident Evil 2. Lover of most things nerdy Steve also likes sports. Go sports!