Videogame Reviews

Casual Games: 'Peggle Nights' and 'The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes'

Here at last, the sequel to last year's smash hit ''Peggle'' (20 million downloads and counting). Plus: One for armchair sleuths

PEGGLE NIGHTS
PEGGLE NIGHTS

PEGGLE NIGHTS
(PopCap Games; PC)

The original Peggle, a charmingly designed and fiercely addictive amalgam of pachinko and pinball, was a casual-game sensation, having been downloaded more than 20 million times since its introduction last year. So it's no wonder that the title's designers chose to adopt an ''if it ain't broke'' philosophy with the follow-up, Peggle Nights. The sequel's gameplay is identical to the original: You fire a ball from the top of the screen into a board of multicolored pegs, attempting to clear all the orange ones. You have a limited number of shots, must contend with assorted obstacles, and occasionally pick up special powers by hitting certain pegs. It's that simple. But it's the clever details — from the exuberant firework animations when you clear a level to the dramatic slow-motion effect when your ball approaches a board's last peg — that transform the game from what could have been a prosaic concept into videogame crack. Veteran Pegglers will find little new in Nights, aside from 60 fresh levels. Then again, given the original game's near-perfect design, that may be all you need.

WHAT WE LIKE:
·Little change from the original

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE:
·Little change from the original B+

THE LOST CASES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

(Legacy Interactive; PC)
Mystery titles, particularly hidden-object games, have become a hugely popular segment of the casual-game market. Lost Cases takes this basic genre, mixes in a handful of other engaging puzzles (spot the difference, memory challenges, etc.), and ties it all into an intriguing story line based on the adventures of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective. The graphics aren't the sharpest (which makes it difficult to see some items), and gameplay can get a bit repetitive. Still, armchair sleuths will find more than enough to keep their eyeballs pressed to the magnifying glass.

WHAT WE LIKE:
·A variety of puzzles
·Entertaining characters and story lines
·It's Sherlock Holmes!

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE:
·Weak graphics and animations
·Hard to spot some objects
·Repetitive gameplay B

Originally posted Sep 30, 2008