The original Peggle, and its successor Peggle Nights, were simple puzzle games built around luck more than anything else. They were addictive mobile titles that catered perfectly to that pick-up-and-play environment.
Peggle 2, on the other hand, is going for broke with a full-blown Xbox One release, and is exclusive to that platform for the time being. Still, it’s just as addictive, just as simple, and wholly familiar. Basically, it’s more Peggle.
By that we mean players are still using metal balls to clear a board, pachinko-style, of all its orange pegs, while at the same time contributing to an overall score. Hitting multiple pegs in a row increases that score and, yes, the game still zooms in on the final orange peg right before the ball strikes it. And doing so sends the game into a flurry of classical music and fireworks — Peggle at its finest.
As far as Peggle 2‘s set-up is concerned, it’s fairly standard. Players progress through a series of 6 overworlds, each with 10 levels, in a linear fashion. Completing one overworld unlocks the next, and so on and so forth.
Each overworld is its own unique environment, complete with its own peg configurations, music tones, background layers, and most importantly, level master. Masters, for those Peggle virgins, are players’ guides through the overworlds. They share a little back-story at the beginning of each overworld, and throughout the individual levels, and each one has a different power for players to take advantage of. One master might let players more accurately trace the trajectory of their initial shot, while another turns the tiny metal ball into a giant wooden bowling ball. Each special power has its own advantages, and add an additional layer to every board.
Along with the general goal of clearing out all orange pegs, each level also offers three optional objectives for players to complete during their first run or to go back and complete later. Most are fairly simple — clear all pegs, score this many points, have a high scoring shot — but they add another wrinkle to each level, which is nice. Similarly, there are an additional 10 trial levels in each overworld, which are unique, one-off scenarios. These trials ask players to complete more complex tasks like clearing the board in one shot, or using one of the special powers to score X amount of points. They basically take the general rules of Peggle and flip them on their head. Again, nothing too revolutionary, but still another opportunity to keep the experience going.
For those who enjoy a multiplayer component, Peggle 2 offers only one mode. Up to four players can compete on the same level for the highest score, but they have the freedom to select any master they want. It’s like a live leaderboard, and certainly has its moments, but it doesn’t radically alter the overall experience.
The good news is PopCap has delivered more Peggle, and that will be good enough for most fans. Those who wanted an evolved, or deeper experience, mechanically speaking however, will come away a little disappointed. There is a ton of content, from new boards to new powers to some additional replay-encouraging options, and the game looks great on the Xbox One. It runs with minimal loads, has a wondrously vibrant color palette, and the sound is exceptional on home theater systems. But ultimately, players’ need for more Peggle will dictate whether they pick this game up now for $12, or wait for the inevitable, and likely cheaper, mobile release.
Have you had a chance to play Peggle 2? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Peggle 2 is available now for the Xbox One.
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