Peggle

Extreme Fever

Peggle is now available on your PlayStation 3. Peggle is a game you should purchase for your PlayStation 3.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: March 6, 2010
By this point in the game's venerable history, Peggle has probably been played by more people that game with any regularity than it hasn't. Part of the reason is PopCap Games' relentless quest to get the game onto as many platforms as possible -- and usually to do so with some kind of free component so as to allow the game to sink its evil tendrils into your soft, waiting grey matter. There, Peggle does unholy things to your every waking spare cycle. Dreams? They're about Peggle now. Killing time while riding the elevator alone? Perfect opportunity to play back potential outcomes in your head during those precious few seconds.


This is the unholy power that Peggle has to sway and bewitch, and it is potent mojo indeed. Much of it comes from the fact that the game is so rife with seemingly random chance. You rotate a cannon and fire it in the hopes it'll hit as many little orange pegs on its inevitable trip down to the bottom of the screen before you run out of balls. To help (hopefully) catch it, a little platform with a hole in it slowly moves back and forth at the very bottom and from there it's up to dumb luck, proper initial firing and perhaps the odd special ball.

This is, of course, easier said than done; orange pegs are "trapped" among blue ones that usually have to be taken out first, and while purple pegs will give you some bonus points, really only the green pegs are almost as important as orange ones. Hitting one of these will imbue your next or next few balls with some special abilities. One might travel from the bottom of the screen back to the top, another might plow through everything in its path without being deflected, another may be near-perfectly pre-calculated to hit an orange peg no matter where you aim the shot. These introduce a semblance of control over things, but really there's as much random happenstance as there is careful calculation.

The result is that no two games ever play the same way, even if you try to use the same strategy. Timing, bounces and just plain having something bounce in just the right way into the right place end up playing major roles and are one of the reasons the game is so thrilling. Even once you've cleared out all the orange pegs, the previous chasm that waits below becomes a series of holes that dish out bonus points, so even once you're done, the random nature of how the ball bounces could mean a 25,000, 50,000 or 100,000 point payout on top of whatever your ball did in its last shot. Manage to tuck a score multiplier hit into things or really rack up some big points before the ball hits that Extreme Fever final resting place, and suddenly you're looking at seven figures.

It's actually a deceptively charming pursuit, something we seemingly long ago gave up: the pursuit of the almighty high score. This simple act of one-upping people on a friends list or uploading a video of your ridiculous score straight to YouTube (yep, it's supported, just tap a button during a replay). Somehow, chasing more numbers has an incredible amount of pull, and combined with the heady cocktail that is Peggle's melding of strategy and complete luck. If for some reason you haven't yet picked up a version of Peggle let this be your first; you'll thank me later. If, on the other hand, you already have five versions of the game elsewhere... well, it might still be worth grabbing for 55 normal levels, 75 challenges, Quick Play/Duel Modes or the ridiculous 4-player Peg Party where everyone plays at once. Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds.
The Verdict
9.5

Peggle is one of those games with universal appeal. Not near-universal, not might-be-for-everything, it's about as sure a thing as you can expect in this business. Buy it for your significant other, and watch your PS3 become their PS3.

8.0Graphics:

Simple, clean, effective. Some of the Peggle Masters (the freaks that guide you through a handful of themed sets of levels) can look a little wrecked, but otherwise it's a pleasant, unassuming game.

7.0Sound:

Plucky music stays in the background until a cacophonous explosion of Ode to Joy just makes that win that much more entertaining.

10.0Control:

Perfect. You aim where you want to fire, watch the ball bounce accordingly... and then watch physics go to town from there.

9.5Gameplay:

With so much variety in the modes, levels, challenges and multiplayer offerings, the $10 asking price is, well, perfect.