There are some games that don’t just get under your skin they create an itch that just has to be scratched. You find yourself hearing the music in your head. I bet you can still hear the Tetris theme just like the first time you picked up a green & yellow Gameboy. Anyone ever play a little game called Bejeweled? Oh yeah, the one that spawned an entire army of clones?

Today, you could arguably pin that title on Peggle. PopCap’s embarrasingly addictive game has a perfect combination of minimum skill & maximum distraction. The graphics are great & it’s got a lot of personality. It’s obvious Plaid & Pin the developers of Rockchinko have played Peggle because they’ve tried to beat PopCap at their own game. Too bad they don’t even come close.

Rockchinko is a new pachinko game that is trying to ride the Peggle craze for their own glory. The basics are the same – shoot a little ball to destroy all the red orbs. I found myself really wanting to delete this game almost as soon as I started playing it. The first thing you notice are the graphics. Which are, quite frankly, atrocious. Everything is pixelated. I don’t see how a developer can put out a game looking this rough. Not when you’re competing with the big development studios & you know Peggle will be out before summer.

Game play is slow & buggy. Your cannon also doesn’t show you the path your ball will take. Which means you’ll find yourself missing your target & wasting shots by just a hair over & over again. There are the requisite power-ups, but whatever. Power-ups just prolong the experience. The music does actually work. A base track is played in a particular genre & every orb you hit, makes a note in that particular style. Makes sense when you play it. But, take a look at the controls. I couldn’t even adjust the sound because the knobs are so damn tiny.

The final straw for me was when you’re about to hit that last orb & clear the level. In a direct rip on Peggle, the screen zooooooms in tight so you can get a super close up view. Great. i get a up-close view of a pixelated, blocky orb.

Instead of stealing, er, borrowing from a best-selling game, come up with something original. I’m a huge fan of the Treasures of Montezuma, a blatant Bejewled rip. But – it looks great & there’s extra stuff pumped in to make it less of a generic swap three jewels game. I’d gladly forgive the devs if the graphics were better or if they had contributed some new ideas, but this is definitely a pass for me.

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