The original Peggle is one of my guiltiest pleasures. The simplicity behind PopCap’s bouncy puzzle game is also its most endearing quality. I found myself constantly clamoring for just “one more level” over and over again. The sequel has been a long time coming, and those without a shiny new Xbox One will have to wait even longer to get their hands on it. Peggle 2 doesn’t deviate from what made its predecessor so much fun, but it also doesn’t bring a plethora of new ideas to the table. It feels more like a refined addition to the series, which is still pretty much the greatest puzzle game of all time.
For anyone who has never played a Peggle game, let me break it down. There is a cannon at the top of the screen. I aim it at some pegs on the bottom of the screen. Tap the A button to fire, and joy commences. It is one of the simplest concepts known to me, yet I cannot help but be enthralled every time I fire a shot. Of course there are variables to the equation such as angle, power-ups and peg types, but the core concept is as simple as it gets.
Peggle 2 doesn’t change much, and in fact it feels a little sparse on new content. For example, there are masters that make up each segment of levels. They bring unique style, and of course a special power-up for those levels. Peggle 2 only plays host to five, whereas the original game had double that. Four of them are new, with Bjorn the Unicorn being the only returning master. While minimal, I do really enjoy the new masters and their powers, though Jeffrey’s bowling rock power feels a little too similar to the dragon ball from the first game.
There is plenty of content here to keep players busy for a while. There are sixty main boards, and sixty challenges to master, as well as bonus objectives for each level. Mastering them all will take time, and as always the pegs are random upon revisiting levels, so power-ups and such are not always in the same spots. Considering this will run players $12 from Xbox Live, that isn’t a bad deal.
Presentation has definitely been ramped up for this sequel at least. Masters are now more prominent on the left side of the screen, and play host to a ton of animations and hilarious references. There is twerking and even movie nods intertwined, making it more aesthetically pleasing. Music also plays a big part as each master has their own completion music, with Bjorn still sporting the infamous Ode to Joy. Each set also has their own sounds for peg hits, which is a nice touch.
Peggle 2 does abuse what it does though. Sometimes animations are a bit much and distract from the main game. It also overuses the Xbox One GameDVR. It constantly records clips that are not always that impressive. It is weird that it also doesn’t record the entire shot when capturing a great moment. My timeline is full of Peggle 2 videos, which can be annoying.
In addition to the single player, there is also an online component that allows up to four players to try and outscore each other on the same table. Essentially real-time leader boards. Sadly, standard leader boards are absent, as is the battle mode from the original 360 release. It is also sad there is no local multiplayer. Of course there is a shopping cart on the main menu, so DLC has to introduce this stuff right? The question is, how much?
Peggle 2 is a great follow-up to the addiction we all have. I am happy to once again play in short bursts, especially on Xbox One where I can do it while other games are downloading or installing. It isn’t going to set the world on fire, or change the series. It is Peggle, and if you want more Peggle, you will get exactly that here. For the price it is impossible to complain. Plus you just feel all warm and fuzzy while playing it.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.