Developer: King
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad mini

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime: Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Papa Pear Saga is King’s take on Peggle. No beating around the bush, that’s what it is. Granted it adds some cool elements to the standard formula, but it adds too much randomness to the equation to be as fun and engrossing as its original influence is.

PapaPearSaga-4Yes, the gameplay is largely familiar, but some of the core mechanics are different. Players still launch balls from the top of the screen – in this game they’re the eponymous papa pears – and shoot them at curved angles, but here there’s the ability to set shot power as well as the angle. Instead of popping all of a certain color of peg, the goals vary, but mostly getting papa pears into the bottom jugs is the goal.

Much like its progenitor, it’s hard not to get entranced by this game: it’s great for sitting back and just kind of half-mindedly firing some papa pears around the levels, eventually seeing if hey, maybe I’ll just get this done. And watching the chaos take place is always entertaining; papa pears just flying all over the place, and multiple papa pears can be in play as well.

This isn’t just a Peggle clone, either: the different stage objectives bring forth new ways to play with the familiar formula. Having to knock large fruits into the buckets in some levels is a fun new challenge requiring new approaches. The obstructions on some of the buckets in later levels force players to plan out a strategy for the whole level: each shot becomes important. As well, certain powerups appear when certain things happen, like hitting the rim multiple times with one ball, or hitting both sides of the screen with one ball. It’s still a game that can be played casually, but it’s possible to get really engrossed too.

PapaPearSaga-6The challenge in particular comes from the fact that the buckets often require multiple hits to be opened up, and the game is so chaotic that this added challenge can make it difficult to beat some levels. As well, the physics system is based on a frustrating randomness. A shot that bounces off of permanent objects that I have made no adjustments to should not react in different ways each time, but it does. This is a concern because this kind of chaotic gameplay requires trust from the player that there will be consistency, and the game seems unwilling to be consistent. That the game also pushes the ability to buy extra papa pears makes one wonder: is the game being fair? It sure doesn’t feel that way at times. And given that Candy Crush Saga is known to “move the goalposts,” so to say, I certainly feel that there may be some of the same activity going on here.

And really, that’s the main issue here: there’s fun to be had, but it’s missing that key element that makes it truly great.


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