Many of us undoubtedly enjoyed the silly arcade game Peglin the past. The straightforward act of kicking a ball and scoring points was always entertaining and quite comical. Red Nexus Games has created Peglin, a game that combines the skills of bouncing orbs and stones around cleverly and thematically designed arenas to accumulate damage to throw at approaching enemies. But what if someone took that straightforward ball-bouncing game and turned it into an epic adventure?
In a way, Peglin is both a rogue-like game and an adventure game. Each battle, each find, and each throw become more significant and interesting because of the sense of permanent death and loss of advancement. I’ve already completed a few runs with the zeal and hope for even more unique treasure and orb combinations, so I couldn’t help but immediately begin a new one. The gameplay loop is both soothing and intensely interesting. Players begin the game with a relic that grants a passive ability and a small number of stones that deal some basic damage to enemies. You can deal more damage to enemies by hitting more pegs with your orbs. You can hit critical damage pegs, refresh pegs so they can all be hit again, detonate bomb pegs to harm all foes, and more. Each shot matters because enemies are getting closer to you, as you can see from the gameplay, even though it is quite simple and laid back.
After that, players will explore a variety of terrain, including forests and caverns, and decide whether to pursue treasures, more enemies, or random events. Players have a choice between receiving some much-needed health or random orbs at the conclusion of battles. Each run feels fresh and different thanks to the orb and relic (passive abilities) variety. Since you have a lot of options, you don’t feel like you lost because of bad luck with items like treasures, orbs, or relics, which is nice. Peglin is a straightforward game, both in terms of the graphics and the audio. I didn’t realize goblins could be so adorable until I saw the cute and well-defined pixels that give it an old arcade feel. Each orb bounce, missed shot, or enemy attack has a distinctive and imaginative sound that adds a lot of life to this tiny world. Additionally, the game is kept moving along by the charming but entertaining music. Last but not least, while the environments, maps, and orbs could use a little more flair and detail, they still serve their purpose and contribute to the atmosphere of the game.
My only real complaint with the game is that, after a few runs, it starts to feel a little slow and repetitive to go through the same sequence of areas repeatedly. I am aware that the narrative progresses from a forest to a castle and then into other locations. If there was some kind of overall progression after each run, this would feel less punishing and repetitive, but instead the game is going “hard core,” which is fine but challenging. However, it gets a little monotonous after hours of playing the same bosses and enemy sets. If there was any way to get me to the harder levels faster, it would have been great if I could skip ahead at the expense of some resources or if there was a 2X button that would speed up all animations through zones I’ve already cleared.
Peglin is, all things considered, a charming, endearing, and addictive mashup of Peglin and tough, vintage rogue-like games. The fun that can be had as players collect crazy powers, wild orbs, and battle their way to challenging bosses repeatedly is not ruined by the lack of extra speed in areas or levels that have already been cleared.