Peggle Dual Shot First Look

Peggle can now be played anytime and anywhere.


PopCap Games has teamed up with Q Entertainment (Lumines, Rez, Meteos) to bring the ultra-addictive game of Peggle to the Nintendo DS. This part-pachinko, part-pinball game originally came out on the PC last year, and the fan base keeps growing. Ensuring that Peggle fever hits an even wider audience, PopCap wanted to make the game portable, with a ton of new content, and thanks to Q Entertainment, a bit of Japanese flair. Peggle: Dual Shot will have the same 55 levels and 75 challenges that were in the PC version. However, on top of all that, there will be levels from Peggle Nights--the PC sequel to Peggle--another 75 unique challenges to the DS, and exclusive Q Entertainment designed bonus levels, stemming from the mind of Tetsuya Mizuguchi.

The Peggle Masters keep a watchful eye from the top screen.
The Peggle Masters keep a watchful eye from the top screen.

We had the opportunity to see how Peggle would work on the DS when PopCap came by our office for a visit. As in its PC predecessor, your goal is to aim your cannon and fire at a screen full of pegs, hoping to eventually hit all the orange ones before you run out of balls. As you hit the orange pegs, you build up your fever meter, which functions as a score multiplier and an indicator for when you hit extreme fever (end of the level). You unlock a cast of colorful creatures throughout the game, which are masters that have special abilities to help you throughout your Peggle adventure. You can pick one in each level (after you've unlocked them all), and it will sit happily in the top screen as it monitors your progress. Most of your bottom screen contains blue pegs, which are for points; green pegs will activate your master's special ability; and the purple pegs are for bonus points, as well as a special bonus feature that we will get to later. What makes Peggle so mesmerizing is that you watch your ball bounce randomly down the screen, scoring points and hoping that it might land in the moving bucket so that you can at least earn an extra ball. Taking advantage of the DS's dual screen and touch screen, Peggle's levels spans across both screens. The ball count and fever meter are in the top screen so that your peg screen at the bottom is uncluttered. Using the stylus or L and R buttons, you can move the cannon, but if you want even more precision, holding down the stylus will allow you to zoom in to see the pegs up close on the top screen. This will allow you to make very small adjustments to your aim, and for such a small screen, zooming in is always a nice feature.

Getting a star each time you hit a purple peg is a new feature in the DS version. Once you hit five in the level, you can enter a bonus underground level when your ball falls to the bottom of the screen. This bonus underground level is where you can collect gems in a minipinball game. Each master has its own underground level, and the gems you collect will only stay with you if you beat the current level that you're on. With these gems, you can purchase the Q Entertainment designed levels in Quickplay mode where we were told there are some special and wacky levels to check out.

There are DS-specific challenges, so there are a total of 150 objectives for you to tackle on top of the levels in Dual Shot and Peggle Nights. There's more Peggle than you could ever ask for in this version. Because PopCap knew that there wouldn't be downloadable content on the DS as in the Xbox Live Arcade version, it wanted to cram in as much Peggle goodness as it could to please puzzle fans. Like the XBLA version, there will be the offline two-player mode, except that it's the hot-seat version where you take turns aiming, trying to get as many points as you can without giving your opponent the advantage.

Use the zoom-in feature to get the best shot.
Use the zoom-in feature to get the best shot.

Dual Shot's vivid graphics are maintained on the DS, and the gameplay translates perfectly to the handheld, making the game ideal for your gaming-on-the-go needs. Look for Peggle Dual Shot for the DS next year when it is scheduled to be released on March 3, 2009.

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