Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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The wait is over! PopCap Games has launched Peggle HD for the iPad and it’s as good or better on the big touchscreen as it’s been in any of it’s incarnations from PC to Xbox 360 to Peggle for iPhone. I’m afraid this will read more like an homage than a review, but a well deserved one.
Popcap introduced this pachinko-meets pinball style game back in 2007 and it became an instant classic. It has won awards, spawned a hit sequel called Peggle Nights (now an in-app purchase from within Peggle HD). Peggle has inspired countless clones, but not as many as Bejewelled 2 or Zuma, PopCap's other huge titles. Like another Popcap multi-platform smash, Plants Vs Zombies, Peggle is a hard game to classify or properly replicate.
The object is simple and so is gameplay. Use a finger or the optional scroll bar located on the right of the screen to aim. Once the path is set, players launch a little metal pinball into a grid of pegs. The pinball bounces on, in, and around the pegs, pachinko-style, with the goal being to fire them so they hit all the orange pegs and blocks on every board.
The boards get increaingly complicated, requiring banked shots, fine angles and a good bit of luck. Different colored pegs trigger various effects as well. There are four game modes but Adventure is the place to start. It’s the Peggle Academy where all the various characters, rendered beautifully for the HD version, explain their special powers and players beat boards using that power to progress to the next “teacher”.
There is also a Quick Play mode, which lets players pick from boards of varying difficulty and choose the character and their attendant special powers - multiple balls from the gopher or pinball-like flippers supplied by a lobster, among others. These abilities can only be unlocked by successful completion of Adventure mode. Challenge mode provides tough goals for advanced players who’ve completed the game and Duel is a neat two-player mode for battles against an AI or human opponent.
The game has Game Center integration with 29 achievements and a number of areas to display collectables earned during the game, including a gorgeous trophy room.
The graphics are flawless and the controls are almost perfect, offering intuitive touchscreen options.
The physics can seem less than precise, with wildly fortuitous shots happening often several times on a single board, but that was true of all previous releases of the game and it’s part of the appeal. This is a bright and shiny new port that brings very few surprises. This is classic Peggle, and for fans wondering if it’s worth buying the title one more time, the short answer is yes. If, by some chance, this is a first encounter of a Peggle kind, stop reading and start downloading. Peggle HD is a must-have.