Peggle. The new Tetris? Never did I think that such a simple game, bought on a whim for 800 xbox points to play one night with friends online would take over my life.
Story 2/10: Not that the story sucks, just that it's a puzzle game. Does it really need a story? I guess in the Adventure mode you go through each of the Peggle Masters and learn their tricks... That is kind of like a story, right? If we're going to continue the Tetris comparison then it must be said that Tetris would get a 0/10 on story, and that is still an amazing game.
Graphics 8/10: The graphics are simple. I mean, you're shooting a ball at a bunch of colored bricks and pegs. What more could you ask for? You could ask for nothing more, but Peggle will give you something without you asking, because it loves you and takes care of you. Peggle will give you really funny backgrounds to the levels. And Peggle will give you a loading screen that, despite the fact that I've loaded this game 3023598 times in the last 2 or 3 weeks, still makes me laugh. Loading blinking lights? Loading zen masters? Comedy! PS - The photo below is probably one of my top 3 least favorite levels. I hate it so much.
Sound 9/10: It's repetitive music. When isn't it with a puzzle game? The reason this game gets 9 out of 10 is because the music on the level-choosing screen makes my 2-year-old totally wig out. She gets down with her bad self in a way no other music can make her. I need to download the song and make it my ring tone or something, because she loves it that much. All of the other gameplay songs are okay, they don't get annoying.
My only complaint? When you hit the pegs, there is a series of sounds that ascend in tone based on the number of pegs you hit. When you hit a blue peg it is not worth as many points as an orange peg, but the sound quality is the same. This might be hard to explain without you having played this game, but really you should be playing it anyways. So back to my point: when you hit enough pegs, you earn 25,000 points and you get a free ball. To me the sound of pegs you hit should be associated with the points, not the number of pegs...because when you hit mostly blue pegs you still get the high pitched sound, but you don't get a free ball because you only earned, say, 3,000 points. This makes me sad, because a high pitched noise is exciting and should always equal a free ball.
Gameplay 9/10: Simple is key here. And the amazing thing? You really do get better with practice. Somehow I think this game is stimulating the math cortex of my brain, because it's all about the angles. The problem is that I'm not great with math, and I can't believe how unbelievable the angle-issues can be (at least for me).
One nice gameplay feature is the modes. There is Adventure, Quick Play, Master Duel, and Challenge. You have to play through Adventure to unlock all the characters and the Challenge mode, but it is really fun and totally worth playing through over and over. I've spent some time in Quick Play, where you can just choose any level and play it, but most of my time since defeating Adventure has been spent on Challenge mode. You get all the levels with different and interesting objectives. Tetris comparison: totally fun, totally addictive game, right? So is Peggle, but with the added benefit of totally pissing me off sometimes. Like seriously? I get so mad when I can't beat a level. I was playing a challenge where I had to defeat a master on the hardest difficulty (at least I hope it was the hardest difficulty) and I was getting so irritated that my husband almost forced me to turn off the game. Almost. He didn't, and for that he lives another day. I'm just saying - for being such a simple game, it certainly has my attention (both good and bad). It is so addictive. It's like I can't stop playing it until I defeat all aspects of it. And this is not going to happen any time in the near future because really, 750,000 points on one level? I can not figure that out.
Overall 9/10: This game is so fun. You can pick it up and play it for 10 minutes or you can lose a few hours to beating Challenges and increasing your skill and top score.
Buy/Rent: Buy it. It is beyond worth 800 Xbox points (roughly $10.) You can get on and download the trial which gives you a really great example of how fun the game is. In fact, we here at my house played the trial for about a month, and fairly often, before I finally caved and bought the full game. It is worth owning though because of all the stuff you unlock with the full game (Challenges, etc.)