Papa Pear Saga – Getting past the rip off

It makes me laugh that King, the developer behind Candy Crush and the aforementioned Papa Pear, has been swinging their massive member around lately about ‘Protecting their brand’ while all their own games seem to be blatant rip offs of other game altogether. Their claim to fame, Candy Crush, just beat the shit out of Bejewelled and gorged itself on sweets and now the evil Papa Pear has decided he wants to rip off Peggle, totally without shame. And the worst part is that I bet he’s encouraged to do it by Mrs Papa Pear who won’t give him any until he steals some IP’s and smacks 3 bells of shit out of some unsuspecting fruit!

Wait, what happened … I may have blacked out their for a second.

Moving away from the whole ‘Stealing Ideas’ thing, let’s take a look at Papa Pear as its own entity to judge whether you should actually take up valuable time playing with it. Like many free games on the mobile scene, there is very little plot, in fact I would go as far to say that there is no plot whatsoever! But then again, who plays this sort of thing for engaging narrative – “get a console man!”. That being said, the levels do take the player through different regions of a map such as desert/jungle/swamp, but these seem to serve more as a visual representation of progression and make very little, if any, impact to the gameplay. I would have liked to at least see the background change drastically and some region specific characters would have been nice as well, but I guess they have to save stuff for their micro transactions, right?

PPS

The gameplay itself focuses on launching a small rounded Papa Pear out of what I can only guess is a pear cannon to achieve a variety of different goals. Once fired, the ball will bounce through various obstacles causing them to, in most cases, disappear to reveal new paths through. At the bottom are 5 ‘barrels’ that collect the balls giving out points. A nice element is the different game modes that require a different tactic when approaching each one. There can be the standard, ‘get as many points as you can’ which, while fun, is a bit common to get the competitive edge out of you. Some of the more interesting modes will see you aiming to get a ball in each of the 5 bottom barrels, which sound a lot easier than it is. The other game mode I found most interesting sees a variety of fruits dotted around the map which need to be knocked off into the depths below. To stop your quest for fruity domination are the invincible block, spike traps and obstacles that propel you in to the wrong direction.

this does seem about as effective as fighting a dragon with a pencil

Unlike Peggle, which uses different characters in order to use different abilities and power ups, Papa Pear chucks them all into the same barrel allowing you to use a variety of power ups in one game. These range in effectiveness and you will often find yourself questioning the point of some of the more questionable ones. By far the best splits the ball into two, effectively giving you a free ball to play with in the round, a precious commodity if ever there was one. Other power ups include a large ball, a fire ball, 2x points and a pathfinder so you can more accurately plan your shots, though this does seem about as effective as fighting a dragon with a pencil.

There was definitely a moment for me when it stopped becoming a game I had to play and a game I found myself wanting to play. When you get past the fact that it is just Peggle, you can really appreciate it on its own merits. As a free to play game you are also limited by lives. Every failed mission will cost you a life and when you run out, you will have to wait some minutes/hours to get them back. This helped to add real weight on each move, and a sense of achievement when the mission is finally beaten. I think at the end of the day, I would rather pay a few quid for Peggle BUT if I did ever find myself strapped for cash and in desperate need to shoot balls out of a cannon, Papa Pear Saga could fill that gap nicely.