I’ve never been excited for the release of an Xbox LIVE Arcade title as I have done for Peggle. The many nights I’ve spent shooting balls at pegs to the ever-familiar sound effects were to continue into this day, as arguably one of the most addictive titles of all time has now been released on the Xbox LIVE Arcade.
The objective of Peggle is to eliminate all the orange-coloured pegs and bricks by firing a ball from a cannon at the top of the screen. The ball will bounce off the pegs, eliminating them as it falls to the bottom of the screen where a bucket moves horizontally in both ways. If the ball lands in the bucket, players earn a ‘Free Ball’ which allows for another shot to take place. As well as orange pegs, there are also blue pegs (low-scoring), pinks (bonus points) and green (power-ups) for players to hit. Scoring a lot of points in one round will also earn bonus points, as well as a ‘Free Ball’ or two, and power-ups can be used in order to assist the player. Clearing all the orange bricks will successfully complete the level and running out of balls results in failure. But why is something so simple, so addictive? Why have I wasted hours of my life watching a ball bouncing around? These are two questions I will never be able to answer.
The game contains four single player game modes, each offering a slight alteration on the way in which the game plays. The one that is likely to consume most of your time is ‘Adventure,’ in which you play through five levels based around each of the game’s ten characters. Throughout each of the five levels, the only real differences are the difficulty and the power-ups on offer. It will probably take the average Peggle player two, maybe three hours in order to finish. Quick Play is as the name suggests, quickly playing a game of Peggle via choosing a level and a character to play as.
Master Duel is a fairly simple game mode in which you take on a CPU opponent, known as Bjorn (the creator of the game), in alternate turns to clear the pegs. The winner is the player to score the highest points after five balls. This mode is one of the better of the four as it’s quick, fun and simple, though not necessarily easy. Finally, Challenge mode is also available and is unlocked after completion of Adventure. On offer, are some very difficult challenges, even Peggle masters would struggle to complete.
Multiplayer is where Peggle is normally a slight let down, but PopCap Games have ensured the Xbox LIVE Arcade version is to a high standard, with the inclusion of three multiplayer modes. Firstly, there’s Xbox LIVE Duel, a game mode in which you take on an opponent in one-on-one Peggle-fun, very similarly to Master Duel. The same Console Duel is also offered for those who don’t have online capabilities. These two are the strongest of the multiplayer modes, though not new to the Xbox LIVE Arcade, unlike Xbox LIVE Peg Party. Peg Party is quite like Duel with more players, as it sees four players battle against each other. Unfortunately, the whole sense of competition is not very evident as each player is situated on their own Peggle ‘board.’ The Y button can be used to have a snoop at how your opponents are shaping up, though something more similar to Xbox LIVE Duel may have been a better option.
Before now, if you pulled off an incredible shot – scoring in the region of 1,000,000 points, your friends would simply say you were lying. Well, Peggle now has the option to replay the previous shot which can be done by pressing the Y button after the shot. You can even watch it in slow motion, but that’s as far as it goes. I personally would have liked to see the option to save them and possibly some kind of Peggle Theatre in which you could replay them.
I’ll state now that I cannot fault Peggle in any way, shape or form in terms of production. Graphically, the new high definition display is as mesmerising as ever, and the colours are still glistening as beautifully as they always have been. Even the game’s audio is superb, from the recognisable opening tune, to the even more recognisable sound of the ball hitting the pegs. PopCap Games have superbly recreated the PC classic, into an Xbox LIVE Arcade hit.
In conclusion, Peggle is without a doubt my favourite title on the Xbox LIVE Arcade. From the addictive gameplay to the many challenges on offer, and with more promise, this game is a must for any Xbox 360 owner and at 800 Microsoft Points, there really is no excuse.