So, yeah, I was one of those guys who never played Peggle. Generally, I find casual stuff sickly simple, easily digestible and full of bad design decisions. Just when you’re getting into the groove of a game like Zuma or even Tetris, the game snaps you out of the mood with an insurmountable challenge or dangerously hard level. I don’t like losing -- I’m that kind of gamer as well -- and I especially don’t like walking away from my digital entertainment with a sour taste in my mouth.
Hit the break for the review of the Macintosh version, which debuted a few weeks ago.
Peggle Nights (PC/Mac)
Peggle Nights won’t stroke your ego with intricate puzzles or riddles; most of the game’s levels can be conquered in minutes. It won’t astound you with visual acuity or complex music; the presentation is nothing more than a scruffy wool blanket covering the softest of beds. It won’t elicit an emotional reaction or make you care about its characters; the denizens of Peggle Nights are only avatars, created to advance a campaign mode and make sense of special abilities.
The formula of is simple: shoot a metal ball from a centralized cannon in order to clear orange pegs scattered throughout a level. The subtlety present is the understanding of trajectory and ability to predict the way the ball bounces and reacts to the various multi-colored pegs and obstructions in the environment. It isn’t rocket science, and even if you tried to make it such, you would fail. Fortune plays a huge role -- often the haphazard, unintelligent shot yields the best results.
Losing is running out of balls, having them fall off-screen. While limited, you can always earn more rotund metal by establishing high scores or by sinking them into a roving container at the bottom of the screen. Winning is negotiating special abilities unlocked by hitting green pegs, twisting the way you approach the next shot -- or shots -- dramatically.
Despite the great mechanics, Peggle Nights’s presentation is flat. The Macintosh version’s art is occasionally blurry, especially the foreground objects. I wasn’t able to put my finger on the reason for the manic visuals, but it ultimately doesn’t matter, because as a whole, Peggle Nights has largely unimpressive menus, boring avatars, and a severe lack of detail. The music, the lesser in dull presentation, is slightly better. The simple tunes never drove me nuts, but I can’t say that I enjoyed the basic, funky stuff.
Popping on iTunes -- I suggest you give a listen to Podtoid, RetroforceGO!, or The Podcastle -- fixes the music issue. The visuals are easy to overlook, considering the pegs and the ball are the real stars of the show. Let me put it this way: there is only a single, truly detracting element in Peggle Nights. There isn’t enough. The campaign, Adventure Mode, is short and sweet -- a delicious treat that leaves you hungry for more. You can get seconds in Challenge. It’s a mode that puts gameplay twists on levels in Adventure. It may force you to reach a certain number of points, start with a lesser amount of balls or put you through a gauntlet of levels. Challenge is tough, focused and supported by downloadable content. However, it’s also very short.
Score: 8 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)