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Peglin – A roguelike you won’t bounce off

Developer: Red Nexus Games Inc.
Price: $9/£7 [Free trial]
Size: 359 MB
Version: 0.9.03
Platform: iPhone & iPad


Peglin developer Red Nexus Games Inc. describes the game as a “Pachinko Roguelike”, but modern gamers might find the description “Peggle meets Slay the Spire” more useful.

It’s technically in early access right now, but the fact that it’s available on the App Store, and that you’ll need to splash out a not-inconsiderable price for a full game unlock, means that we’re happy to give it the full review treatment.

Hit blocks to build up attacks

While there’s a certain roughness to the game that speaks to its beta release status, there’s also an awful lot to like about Peglin. Especially if you’re a fan of Peggle and Slay the Spire. And who in their right mind isn’t?

The game sees your humble warrior traipsing through semi-randomized dungeons, waging turn-based war against an assorted crew of orcs, knights, and goblins, not to mention the odd end-of-level boss.

You get a partial choice over which path you follow

What’s interesting here is the Peggle-indebted way in which that war is waged. Launch a ball into a field of bumpers, and it’ll bounce around according to the whims of gravity and fate, activating special-effect bumpers and accumulating points that will determine your next attack.

The ball itself is also vitally important. Along the way, you’ll accumulate new additions that grant special abilities (equivalent to Slay the Spire’s cards), such as launching an attack that penetrates through the first enemy, or taking out surrounding clusters of blocks in the game field.

Level designs are nice and varied

New balls can be acquired from end-of-level rewards, special rooms, and shops. You can also acquire relics that grant you permanent perks for the rest of your run.

Like we said, there’s a certain roughness to Peglin right now, and it’s not the finished article. The graphics are a little basic, the UI is a mess of busy, tiny fonts and text boxes, and the onboarding process is pretty much non-existent. This is one you’ll have to feel your way into and decipher for yourself.

Between-level events keep things fresh

Thankfully, it’s all quite intuitive. The battle system doesn’t really need mastering, as it’s quite heavily luck based beyond assembling your ball arsenal and choosing your perks.

That reliance on luck could be seen as a weakness over the long haul, but the game’s various systems should head off dissatisfaction – especially as it’s always a simple delight seeing a ball bouncing around, pinging off colored bumpers. Peggle players know what I’m on about.

Bosses are creatively designed

Peglin has got a long way to go before it’s the finished article. That’s already this much fun, and this absorbing, should convince you to get on board even at this early point.