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Roundguard reimagines Peggle as an RPG, and it’s amazing

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A much-needed distraction

For a certain kind of person, all I need to say is “Peggle” and “RPG,” and you’ll get excited. It just makes sense, right? Take the lighthearted play of Popcap’s classic puzzle series, and mix it with engrossing dungeon-crawling action filled with swords and sorcery. That’s exactly what Roundguard is — and it’s just as good as the description makes it sound.

If you haven’t played Peggle before (first of all, how dare you), the premise is incredibly simple: you shoot a ball from a cannon at the top of the screen, with the goal of eliminating pegs that are littered across the screen. The ball will bounce around, as if you were playing Plinko on The Price is Right, before eventually dropping offscreen. There’s a mix of skill and luck at play as you line up shots to clear away as many pegs as possible, but you also have to deal with unexpected bounces. Peggle has always made this addictive format even better through sheer personality. Its bright and shiny persona makes every shot feel epic and important, even if you’re terrible.

Roundguard takes this core and then grafts a proper dungeon-crawling RPG on top of it. The pegs are now breakable pots, potions that refill your health and mana, and enemies like skeletons and goblins. You fire a burly adventurer into all of that chaos, with the goal of clearing away all the baddies. When you hit an enemy, you’ll both cause and receive damage, and some might poison you or move across the screen so you have to time things just right. It’s impressive just how much Roundguard feels like a proper RPG: you’ll equip gear, use special abilities, and take on tricky boss battles. There’s even a dungeon map that makes it feel like you’re progressing through a real place.

Really, it’s just a great mix: the Peggle gameplay makes it easy to play in spurts, while the roleplaying trappings will keep you coming back to progress even further. It’s the kind of distraction we could all use right now. Even better, Roundguard is out on a huge range of platforms, including the Nintendo Switch, Steam, Xbox One, and PS4. I played it on Apple Arcade — it thankfully has controller support — where it joins a growing list of similar titles like Grindstone and Card of Darkness that are regularly draining my phone’s battery. Roundguard is exactly what it claims to be — but also somehow even better.