Game Review: Peglin – Pachinko with a Roguelike Twist

By Dave Jamieson
By November 6, 2023 November 18th, 2023 Game, Reviews

Peglin is a unique blend of pachinko and roguelike by the developers at Red Nexus Games. It might not initially seem like a combination that fits together, however it defied my expectations and I didn’t expect to have so much fun with it.

If you’re a devotee of deck-building card games like Slay the Spire or Monster Train, Peglin is a title that demands your attention. Surprisingly, if you’re a fan of the widely popular Peggle series, Peglin is definitely one to have a look at. Much like Cult of the Lamb, which took various elements of different games and smashed them together to create something new and brilliant, Peglin combines two very successful concepts and combines them well.

As you navigate randomly generated maps, you face choices between battles, treasures, and the perilous unknown. You build a “deck” of balls from a huge variety of orbs, each with their own abilities. Complementing these special balls are relics- magical items with unusual and unique abilities, allowing you to create some interesting and potentially amazing synergies. Expect battles against goblins, soldiers, special bosses and much more. Each successful venture unlocks a more challenging run, gradually increasing the difficulty, particularly familiar to fans of deck-building games.

At first I was a little skeptical of the marriage of a roguelike deckbuilding meets Peggle adventure. Yet the experience surprised me and I had some real fun with it, there’s just enough depth and variations to keep bringing you back for another pachinko experience. Peglin is perfect for moments when a game requiring less intense focus is desired. This isn’t a flaw; sometimes, the game offers impressive builds that can be appreciated simply by dropping a ball and witnessing the magic unfold.

However, luck plays a significant role. Balls may behave in unpredictable ways, perhaps a slight misbounce may cause your best laid schemes to fail. You could lose a valuable orb you’ve been upgrading the entire run, causing you to just fall short of a perfect destructive synergy. But sometimes, when the balls and stars align -or when you’ve got a finely tuned sack of orbs, the really impressive stuff starts happening.

Pelgin understands what it is and it does it very well. A delightful and surprisingly addictive roguelike that’s a must for fans of Peggle. Short and sweet levels with plenty of choice to flex your strategy skills as long as your luck holds out. With a diverse mix of orbs and relics to keep you coming back as you progress up through the increasingly challenging levels. My main gripe? The notable absence of ‘Ode to Joy’.