Peggle Nights Review (PC)

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Peggle Nights Publisher: PopCap Games
Developer: PopCap Games

Platforms: PC, Mac and Xbox 360
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: 700 MHz Processor, 256 MB RAM, DirectX 8.0, Windows 98 or more recent operating system

It's not enough to attend the Peggle Institute, bouncing balls through fields of pegs, falling into Extreme Fever when pegs are eliminated and racking up high scores. In Peggle Nights, the instructors of the Peggle Institute share their dreams, allowing players to live out their peg-eliminating fantasies in another 60 levels of Peggle-style fun.

Kyle Ackerman

In its game Peggle, PopCap transformed simple, pachinko-style play into a physics-based puzzle game with more than your recommended daily allowance of charm and surprisingly plentiful replayability. The game was all the more remarkable in that it took hard-core gamers by storm just as it did casual gamers, possibly thanks to its inclusion in The Orange Box compilation that also introduced Portal.

Peggle Nights revisits the Peggle Institute, with the same style of play, but with players dropping balls into levels inspired by the dreams and fantasies of the various instructors at the Peggle Institute. The unicorn Bjorn dreams of fighting crime in a cape, while the alien Splork dreams of his heroic career as a professional bowler. Both Peggle games take elements from Pachinko, having players hurl balls into a field of pegs, but with complications. Struck pegs are eliminated, and players need to hit all the orange pegs in a level to progress. Additionally, players can borrow the powers of instructors at the Peggle Institute to improve or transform their peg-rebounding game.

The levels in Peggle Nights are a notch better than those in the original Peggle, but aren't really what makes the game even cooler than its predecessor. The adventure mode merits a quick play-through for fun and to unlock the various instructors. Visuals are crisp and the soundtrack is surprisingly groovy – playable after many hours of launching balls at the Peggle Institute. There's even a new instructor: Marina is an underwater denizen who fires an arc of electricity that eliminates everything between the first peg hit and the free ball bucket. As before, the real challenge is in racking up the right combinations of pegs to achieve unbelievably high scores and clear the play field.

What Peggle Nights adds to the original game is a series of trophies that better track your achievements, and a Challenge mode that is a lot more interesting and challenging than in the original Peggle. In the first Peggle, I cut a swath through the various challenges like I was wading through a wheat field with a razor-sharp scythe. Peggle Nights, on the other hand, offers a series of challenges that are possible, but far from easy. To get a trophy (after the first few awards) I had to complete tasks such as beating six random levels in a row, besting Peggle Masters in duels, or beating levels while keeping my score below a certain threshold. I thought that good trajectory intuition and a little physics would keep me cruising through, but the Peggle Nights challenges required real effort to master.

If you have to pick one Peggle game, this is it, if only because it improves on everything that made the original so entertaining.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on December 15, 2008 8:02 PM.

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