Saturday 12 January, 2008
SUMMARY: Peggle Extreme is a special version of PopCap's Peggle, designed for and distributed with Valve's Orange Box. Peggle gives the player control of a ball launcher set in the top-center of the screen, which is populated with blue, orange, green, and purple pegs and bricks. Once struck, any peg or brick lights up and grants points, and lit pegs or bricks are destroyed once the ball reaches the bottom of the screen. The color of the peg determines which special effect the peg grants in addition to points once struck. The game requires the player to strike all of the orange pegs or bricks in the arena with a limited number of ball launches in order to complete the level and advance.
GAMEPLAY: Peggle Extreme's adventure mode presents each of the game's 20 stages in ascending order of difficulty. Since Extreme is actually a free demo for Peggle Deluxe (since I skipped out on reading the instruction manual, this took me by surprise) it's campaign is rather short - by the time it's finished introducing all the basic gameplay elements, you're halfway done.
Peggle valorizes the fuck out of clearing all the orange pegs - when the ball comes close to the last peg, the camera zooms in on it and a special effect is generated by the ball, and if the peg is struck, Ode to Joy heralds the start of fever mode, in which any pegs the ball happens to strike are worth something on the order of 10^2 times as much as normal and the bottom of the stage is filled with buckets, each of which are worth a certain bonus to your score. Once the ball falls into a bucket, the stage is cleared off and your final score is tallied. Peggle Extreme adds a brief voice clip from whichever Valve game provided the background for the level. This is all very satisfying - the first time it happens. After the third or fourth level, I tuned out everything except the voice clip.
There are also voice clips for failure, but by the time levels were hard enough for me to learn this, I was on the Portal levels. I suppose I could go back to the earlier levels and lose on purpose to hear everyone complain, when I do the second part of the assignment.
The puzzles themselves are enjoyable enough, although there aren't a satisifying number of them, it's quite a bit more content than your average free demo, and I may consider buying Deluxe if I should ever chance upon some sort of windfall.