Burnout Paradise, PS3 - £11.80

Burnout Paradise, PS3 - £11.80 delivered

Pikmin (New Play Control), Wii - £14.98

Pikmin (New Play Control), Wii - £14.98 delivered

Yes the web site is hideous, but these guys should be trustworthy. It is SoftUK rebranded.

Peggle DS - Review

Peggle DS - £19.99 delivered

Review by LewieP

Peggle, in all it's guises, is a funny beast. Dual Shot in particular.

It is a game where you are only actually doing anything a small proportion of the time. There is a 2D board with cleverly arranged 'pegs' dotted around on it, and you shoot balls from a centre point at the top of the board. Pretty much the only input you have is what angle to fire the ball at, and when to fire it.

There are 25 orange pegs, and you have 10 balls, and you have to get all the orange pegs to complete a level. There are several ways to get additional balls, like a high scoring shot. Each orange peg you hit contributes to a multiplier too.

The cleverest aspect of the Peggle design is mystery. At any given time it is very difficult to tell what proportion of how successful you are is down to skill, and what proportion is down to luck. I suspect that this dichotomy is what makes the game both incredibly accessible, and incredibly addictive.

Peggle on the DS should be the definitive version of Peggle. It has the touchscreen controls, which are at least as good as mouse controls. It has, in theory, good enough hardware to do a good job of the audio/visual rewards that Peggle likes to drip feed players, and it can be played in bed, on the loo, at work or collapsed in a gutter somewhere, telling yourself "just one more hit".

Sadly, I'm going to say that the PC version is still the one to play.

The most obvious problem with Dual Shot is the graphics. Peggle DS is kind of ugly. Like bad 90s spritework ugly.

This wouldn't be such a crime, but the iPod nano has a better looking version of Peggle. There is no excuse for the DS version (a dedicated gaming platform) looking worse than a version of Peggle made for an MP3 player. When the game zooms in, you can actually see that the 'ball' is in fact a square. It's a shame, because Peggle really depends on the flashy neon player feedback to work, and on this front, Dual Shot kind of falls flat.

I am also unconvinced by the physics engine. It every now and again behaves in a way that doesn't look quite right, and this has lead to me missing shots that I think I should have made.

A new mechanic to Peggle was introduced into Dual Shot, and I have mixed feelings about it. In previous games, there was purple pegs which would move about the level each turn, and if you hit them, you got a bunch of points. In Dual Shot, in addition to the points boost, when you hit 5 of them, you get teleported to a bonus level. In this bonus level, you can get an extra ball, and a shed load of points. It is certainly an interesting idea.

The problem?

The bonus stages suck.

It always seems to boil down to "try to decipher when you should and shouldn't randomly jab the screen." The luck/skill dichotomy that the main game balances so well isn't present at all.

It creates the odd scenario where I want to collect the purple pegs, because they can give you a lot of points, but I want to avoid them, because the bonus game is horrible to play.

All in all, I can see past most of these flaws. It is a workable version of Peggle, and it contains both the original Peggle levels, and the Peggle Nights levels.

It's just a shame that the DS version (which is also the most expensive version) lacks most of the polish of every other version.

Dark Sector, PC - £9.99

Dark Sector, PC - £9.99 on Steam

On offer until the 11th of May.