Review: Peggle Nights (~4 hours, PC)

Though there is a Peggle 2, Peggle Nights predates it by five years. Peggle Nights is really a refinement of the original Peggle, with better designed levels that give you more opportunity to hit more pegs and improve your score. That said, PopCap Games relies on the same characters from the first Peggle, adding only one new character at the end. Still, I have logged 127 hours playing Peggle Nights, so I’d be kidding myself to say there isn’t something truly enjoyable about it.
The better design of the levels allows for more opportunities to receive a free ball by accruing points by hitting pegs. The scoop is still there, so if you’re confident about your shot, you can get a free ball bouncing off one or two pegs. If you’re really confident, you can bounce off more pegs still. There really is an art to hitting the scoop. You’d think I would have the levels memorized with the equivalent of over three work weeks invested in playing the game, but I played Peggle in college, and my memory is foggy.
In the review of the original Peggle, I noted that there were competitors, including Zynga and ngmoco:). While ngmoco:) was acquired by a Japanese company DeNA, Zynga remains staunchly independent, having had an initial public offering on the NASDAQ. That leaves PopCap, the makers of Peggle, who were acquired by EA, which is actually the only traditional game developer of those mentioned with an interest in casual games. It’s a beautiful thing that I can still boot up Peggle Nights, and not have something on-screen, nagging me to make a “micro-transaction” to improve the game.
Perhaps Peggle Nights is the Spider Solitaire of a future generation. Spider Solitaire came packaged with new copies of Windows for a time. Once I got in the swing of things, I learned that Spider Solitaire has far more depth to it than traditional solitaire. I guess we later moved on to the Yahoo Games era and its associated chat rooms. You could play chess with people around the world. This was before the days of ranked matches so you never knew how skilled your opponent was until you played. Here we are in 2019, and Peggle has a place in the world as much as Second Life does.
Though I’ve never set aside the time for it, I’ve always been curious to know what Plants versus Zombies is all about. It was another game that got a ringing endorsement from Games for Windows Magazine, I think specifically from the editor-in-chief Jeff Green. Still, this is a better version of Peggle than the first title. Though I committed 127 hours to Peggle Nights, I gave almost as much time to Peggle, though that hour count seems to have been wiped by Steam, after they auto-upgraded me from Peggle to Peggle Deluxe. Peggle Nights is a good time.

4/5

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