Before Indie games started to really enter into the marketplace, casual games were gaining a lot of momentum (and before casual games, MMORPGs), especially the ones done by Popcap games (Plants vs Zombies). Casual games came in with fullforce with the incredibly popular Bejeweled and Peggle series ofgames, and they've captured the niche of bored officeworker/mom who barely know how to use a PC. They're filled with pretty lights and sound, ridiculously accessible gameplay, and very lax system requirements, so it's natural for these games to start turning profits quickly (not to mention the ease of game development).
These games don't necessarily encroach on mainstream gaming territory however. Hardcore Call of Duty 4/5 veterans aren't going to be as excited by the pretty lights of Bejeweled anymore as a 40 year old mom has an interest in messing around with Crysis and installing Direct X runtime environment, so you can see the two can sit comfortably together with encroaching on each others' territories. Enter Peggle Extreme, a free game (though more like demo) of Peggle that tries to lure the hardcore Steam gamer to enjoy the same addictiveness of Peggle that bored office workers can.
For those unfamiliar with Peggle,Peggle is a pinball type game in which you need to use ten balls toeliminate all the orange tiles in a pinball like fashion, all thewhile picking up powerups and using ricochets to get high scores. Peggle Extreme is a free Valve themed Peggle game exclusive to Steam,though the game's only about 10 levels or so, so it's some sort of glorified demo that uses Valve themes to lure hardcore players toplay a game they'd only think about playing if behind a deskjob.
The game of Peggle is simple. You get 10 balls, and you need to use those ten balls to touch all the orange tiles for the level to end. Other tiles, such as the purple tile,grant you bonus points, while the green tiles give you a powerup (in Peggle Extreme, it's just that it allows you to see where a ball ricochets after the first impact). You control where you shoot the ball from the top of the screen, and then after that you leave it tothe bounce gods to figure everything out and hope that you don't waste your balls on a bad throw. The tiles your balls touch will disappear allowing you to get a better path of other tiles you need to hit. If your balls manage to land in a moving vacuum, you get the ball back to use again. Also, if you score enough points, you get a free ball. Get all 10 orange tiles and you win, simple as that. On the more advanced levels, the levels become more complicated. In the latter half of the game for example, you play Portal themed levels,which means that there are portals here and there, and you'll have to strategically maneuver your balls so to avoid or take advantage of the portals.
Step 1: Shoot the ball
Step 2: Win
Step 3: Enjoy the pretty lights
The Valve themes are well done and nostalgic for Orange Box veterans. You'll play from Headcrabs,engineer turrets, companion cubes, etc, but only the Portal themed ones actually have any real gameplay change to them.
A total of 10 surprisingly well done and well themed levels
Overall, save for the Valve themes, Peggle Extreme just reminds me of a mod of pinball. So, halfway through the review I loaded up Windows' own 3D pinball and played agame. Peggle Extreme is better. However, like regular pinball,there's always a feeling that the game relies much more on chance than on skill. Get a green powerup and you can see where the ball will ricochet after two bounces, but after that you're going to rely a lot on eyeballing and luck, especially if you want your ball to drop into the vacuum receiver. I'm sure some of the more hardcore moms out there have drilled Peggle down to a science, but I beat the game with chance, luck, and a shrug of the shoulders.
Spy sappin' mah sentry!
Minimum Requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista, 256 MB RAM, 700MHz or faster, DirectX: 7.0
Naturally, the game ran smooth as butter on my integrated graphics. And to be honest, I don't think it'd cause much trouble for IGP systems (I'm pretty sure it was targeted at that audience). There isn't much you can really play with on the settings, and the game didn't support my notebook's native 16: 9 resolution. And if you look at the requirements there, it's pretty clear that anything can play Peggle Extreme, including whatever $hitty device you're using to view this review.
No bugs, no mods, and considering that the glorified demo/full game is free, you can't really go wrong with it. It's considered a full game by my account because A) It's marked as so B) I doubt regular Peggle goes with the Valve themes,but it does seem pretty short at 10 maps. Then again, so did Alien Swarm, and it's still only one campaign.
Peggle Extreme is a cleverly made game that at the very least is a big upgrade from Solitaire. The game's low system requirements and accessibility scores it kudos. However,I never really got into it as much as everyone else did. But then again, I could just play me a game of Just Cause 2 or Fallout New Vegas. And if I needed something light, I'd probably just play Altitude or S & S HD, so I don't really have much of a need for Peggle Extreme.
I'd rather play the actual Team Fortess 2 to be honest
- <li>None really, the game's fine as is, but I still didn't get into it.