Review: Peggle Dual Shot

Peggle_Dual_Shot_Cover.jpg I have a confession to make. Until a couple weeks ago, I had never played Peggle before. I know, crazy, right? Peggle has only been like the biggest thing in casual gaming over the past couple of years. But what can I say; it never really caught my eye. Amidst PopCap’s ongoing three months of Peggle spring fever, the puzzle game hit has made its debut on the DS in Peggle Dual Shot, a jam-packed compilation of adapted ports of the original Peggle and its recent sequel Peggle Nights, which Mike reviewed earlier today. Playing puzzlers on the DS is more up my alley, so I decided to finally give this Peggle thing a shot. Boy am I glad I did!

After hours and hours of Peggling it up on my DS, I can certainly see why it has become such a sensation. Peggle is essentially an amalgamation of pinball, pachinko, Arkanoid and Plinko from ‘The Price is Right’ – four of the greatest games known to man. That may sound like a complicated mishmash of ideas there, but the game really couldn’t be any simpler (or more addictive).

At the top of the screen is a ball launcher which you must use to shoot marbles at orange pegs mixed in with a bunch of board-clogging blue pegs arranged in various patterns in the colorful field of play below. The objective is to clear out all of these orange pegs with only a set number of marbles available to you at the start of each puzzle – though you can earn additional free balls by achieving high scores and/or if the bucket that scrolls across the bottom of the screen happens to catch your marble upon its descent. So in a nutshell, you aim and shoot your marble with the stylus (or D-pad and face buttons if you so choose) and cross your fingers as you watch it ping around amongst all the pegs, hopefully taking out a bunch of orange pegs as it gradually works its way to the bottom.

Throughout the Adventure mode you are tutored by the great Peggle Masters, cute animal creatures who provide special magical powers to aid in your Peggle quest. These powers, which include things like a fireball that plows straight through all pegs in its path, pinball flippers you can use to help keep marbles in play longer than normal, and bombs that blow up all nearby pegs, manifest themselves as two green pegs in each puzzle. Purple pegs pop up in random places at the start of every turn as well, and by hitting five you enter a new DS-exclusive bonus room called the Bonus Underground. In this area there are gems floating around a series of bumpers, and by tapping the screen you’re able to make the bumpers vibrate and launch the marble around the screen to collect as many gems as possible. More gems equals more points, and more points equals more free balls.

Reliance on catching lucky bounces to complete puzzles, especially as they become more challenging, can become a bit too prevalent at times — at least for my tastes — but for the most part becoming a successful Peggle-meister requires learning how to visualize trajectory before launching your marble into play. So overall I’d say the balance between skill and luck is pretty good. Casual gamers can enjoy lobbing their marbles around at random hoping to get lucky, while more seasoned gamers can spend time mastering the physics and continuously striving to top their high scores.

Now, I’ve read quite a bit of petty whining around the Net about Dual Shot’s price. At $30 it is indeed the priciest version of Peggle, but before skimming past the game based on its price you need to remember that you’re getting two games in one here. If you were to go buy Peggle and Peggle Nights separately on PC or Mac you’d be paying the same price. And with Dual Shot you’re getting all the same content plus an additional 10 exclusive levels designed by Lumines and Meteos developer Q Entertainment. So tallying it all up, this game packs over 200 puzzle levels, a turn-based Duel mode you can play with a friend or against the CPU, and the option to send a trial version to another local DS, not to mention the fresh and addictive gameplay you get to enjoy in all of these levels and modes. I’d say that’s more than enough content to justify the price.

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Pros:
+ Very simple yet very addictive gameplay
+ Charming graphics and sound effects
+ Two game’s worth of content equates to high replay value
+ Breath of fresh air for the genre; it’s not just another match-three puzzler

Cons:
– Seems a bit too luck-based at times

Game Info:
Platform: DS
Publisher: PopCap Games
Developer: Q Entertainment
Release Date: 2/27/09
Genre: Puzzle
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1-2

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!