The game is challenging, but the light tone and focus on letting players jump in makes it easy to pick up and play a for a couple of runs.
Peglin is a hybrid of roguelike and pachinko from small independent developer Red Nexus Games. During PAX Online, RPGamer was able to chat with Red Nexus Games’ Dylan Gedig to learn more about the game as well as check out its demo on Steam.
Peglin sees players taking a small goblin on an adventure through various locations during which they have various encounters. Each combat encounter sees players aiming an orb at a pachinko-like set, with each contact adding the score. The score then determine how much damage is dealt to the enemy, with the enemies advancing with each orb until they get in range and start attacking. Pegs disappear as they are hit, with there always being one critical peg that creates a large boost to the score and a reset peg that restores all of the pegs.
The pachinko mechanics are entirely physics-based, and though it has pixel graphics, the orbs and relevant pins are treated as spherical by the physics engine. It isn’t a true real-world simulation as the developer has found that more floaty gravity works best and is more satisfying for players. Players get numerous opportunities to gain new orbs in the game or upgrade their existing orbs, which can add different physic behaviours or various other useful bonuses. In addition to regular pegs, many encounters in the demo also include a limited number of bombs that when hit twice cause damage to all enemies on screen, so making good use of these can easily turn a battle in the player’s favour.
Once victorious, players are given a choice about which route to take and thus which encounter they get next, though this again uses the pachinko mechanics so players can end up on a different path than intended if they get their aiming wrong. The demo features a small mix of encounters; some are just simple combat encounters, but others can provide treasure or risk-versus-reward choices such as sacrificing some health for a new powerful orb.
The pixel graphics are charming, and one definitely wants to root for the cute goblin. Some might feel a bit of a disconnect between the pixel orbs and pegs and the comparative precision of the physics engine, but watching the orbs bounce around is pleasing, especially on high-scoring rounds. Peglin is challenging, but the light tone and focus on letting players jump in makes it easy to pick up and play a for a couple of runs. The roguelike format, as opposed to Puzzle Quest style carried-over progression, feels correct for the game, as it plays up the fun elements of gaining powerful orbs that would otherwise need major balancing constraints.
Peglin is planned to release on Steam Early Access for PC and Mac later this year with most of the content to be available from the outset, with a full release planned in 2022, including console versions. There are plans for features such as leaderboards and permanent upgrades or unlocks in the full game. It doesn’t try to be more than it is, which gives it an enjoyable, quick feedback loop. It’s definitely satisfying getting the hang of the physics and unleashing effective attacks, and the demo feels like it has a strong balance. Peglin very much feels like it fills a fun little niche and is worth checking out.