Let’s face it, Peggle (iTunes link) is somewhat of a gaming phenomenon. Over the last year PopCap Games’ colourful hybrid of Puzzle Bobble and Pachinko has managed to find a home on just about every mainstream entertainment device from the Xbox 360 to the Nintendo DS, leaving a trail of addicts in its wake.
No multi-platform assault would be complete without a presence on Apple’s iconic iPhone however, and it’s just on that device that I too, as a latecomer to the game, finally succumbed to its charms.
The premise is the same as always: Fire a ball from a cannon at the top of the screen and try to hit as many orange pegs as you can in as few shots as possible. Run out of your assigned 10 balls and it’s game over, but a multitude of power-ups and bonuses can help you avoid that fate.
In short, a simple game with a simple premise, exactly the kind of thing that lends itself ideally to the iPhone’s form factor and control scheme: you can touch the screen to aim your cannon, touch a ‘wheel’ on the side of the screen for ultra-fine aiming, or double-tab the screen for even finer aiming resolution. With that level of control, even the pickiest of Peggle Masters won’t have reason to complain - even left and right-handedness can be configured.
The things about Peggle is its sheer joyful presentation. From the music to the colors, to the festive fireworks announcing your victory, the game’s overall feel just screams ‘one more level.’ It’s exactly that pervasive charm that had me lose track of the three hours I spent perfecting the game’s latter levels, oblivious of my wife’s departure to bed or the fact that it had gotten dark outside.
Those three lost hours accounted for just over two-thirds of the time that it took me to complete the game’s Adventure mode, which while not a lot in terms of overall game time certainly justifies the £2.99 price of admission. That’s not all however. The game also offers a fiendish array of individual Challenge modes, as well as a Duel mode allowing two players to face-off for the highest score by taking turns on the ball. Overall, the game’s modes and its inherent re-playability raise it a few notches above the myriad one-shot games populating the App Store.
Peggle’s iPhone implementation is not completely flawless however. During the game’s most visually intensive moments - usually on victory sequences - the colorful visuals seem to struggle a little. This is by no means a show stopper, and in no way affects the actual gameplay.
Take it from an avid iPhone gamer and newly-certified Peggle Master: I highly recommend this game - it’s pretty much guaranteed to keep you busy for hours on end.