Playing through HotHead’s Kickin Momma HD without being reminded of Peggle borders on the impossible. There are enough differences between the two that it wouldn’t be fair to call HotHead’s title a clone of the PopCap classic, but they’re too similar to totally avoid comparisons.
The gameplay of Kickin Momma will feel very familiar to Peggle veterans. You propel an object towards a bunch of pegs, and you watch it bounce down to the bottom as it lights up the objects in the play field, which earn the player points. Rather than shoot a pinball down towards the pegs as in Peggle, Kickin Momma has you control the titular Momma as she kicks her children forward into the play field to collect the gems below. It’s much sillier than it is brutal, and it fits into the game’s aesthetic. Actually, it’s not so crazy to interpret it as an incisive comment on consumerism.
Kickin Momma has really sharp graphics and a strong, slightly grotesque style. The character you play as animates really well and gushes with personality. All of the graphical elements of the game are slick and crisp, especially on a Retina display. The game also has some very pleasant music that often feels oddly evocative of the background tunes found in Peggle.
The game diverges from the Peggle formula in some significant ways, though. Rather than choose a superpower at the beginning of a game like in Peggle, all of the special shots found in Kickin Momma are triggered by colliding with power-ups in the play field. You’ll need to set your children on fire to break ice pegs, and there are explosive pegs you can use to clear the play field. We wouldn’t say that it makes for an experience that is better than or even as good as Peggle, but it’s not bad at all.
When Kickin Momma is so similar to such a successful game, the bar for judgment is very high, and our unwavering compulsion to compare the two is Kickin Momma’s biggest stumbling point. It’s an enjoyable game in its own right, but it just doesn’t stack up to PopCap’s multi-platform giant. During our time with Kickin Momma, we kept thinking about how good Peggle is, and how we’d like to be playing it. If you’ve played a lot of Peggle and want some more of that kind of gameplay, you’ll probably enjoy Kickin Momma. However, Peggle is a much deeper and much more challenging experience, and one that makes Kickin Momma slightly disappointing by comparison