The original Peggle was a smash hit for Popcap Games. Its unique gameplay and accessibility made it a must-have title, particularly on the Xbox 360, where it was part of 2009’s hugely-successful Summer of Arcade promotion. As of August 2011, Peggle sold over 30 million copies. ‘Peggle 2’ released on the Xbox One today has new masters, over 120 new levels and trials and power ups to win over Peggle veterans and newcomers alike.
For those of you who are new to Peggle, allow me to introduce you to it. Peggle is a casual game that takes influence from the Japanese game Pachinko and puzzle games such as Taito’s Puzzle Bobble (aka Bust a Move). In it, players must clear various stages of orange pegs by shooting a ball at them. The ball bounces around the pegs and falls out the bottom, with a chance for you to gain a free ball by catching it in a bucket at the bottom of the screen. There is a lot more strategy in Peggle it than simply shooting blindly at pegs, and careful planning of one’s shots is necessary to progress through some of the trickier levels.
When I first heard of Peggle 2 being announced, I initially thought “How could Popcap possibly improve upon Peggle?“. Peggle 1 was already a fairly solid game, nailing accessibility whilst still providing a challenge to gamers of all experience levels. Seasoned Pegglers, believe me when I say if you enjoyed Peggle 1, you’re gonna love Peggle 2!
At the beginning of the game, we are greeted by Bjorn the unicorn. He is the face of both Peggle 1 and 2 and is there to guide the player on their journey to becoming a Peggle Master, as well as serve as the game’s beginning tutorial. Similarly to Peggle 1, Peggle 2 sees players complete different levels presented by one of numerous Peggle masters, each with their own special powers and abilities that the player can activate by hitting a green peg with their ball. Most of the levels are designed with that specific master’s abilities in mind, and the game manages to provide a fair challenge to each player with regards to each level’s design.
In addition to the normal levels, there are also Peggle Trials to complete. These can both serve as a challenge as well as a means of teaching a player how to properly utilise a Peggle master’s power. some of these can be a simple one-shot challenge, and others can be more difficult, such as finishing with a score under a certain amount of points. Ultimately, the Peggle Trials add hours and hours to the game, and feel different to the normal levels, adding variety to Peggle 2.
In the original Peggle, players could get stuck on a particularly taxing challenge for an extended amount of time. This led myself (and many others) to become slightly irritated by the repetitive soundtrack of the first game (I still remember the deep bass lines!). Fret not, seasoned Pegglers! Peggle 2 has a soundtrack far superior to the first. Keeping in theme with the first Peggle‘s love of classical music, Peggle 2 features more classical music in it, though they are different interpretations of the songs and not just sampled songs. The “Fever” music is also different.
Much like the music, the game’s art direction has also improved. Each character has a much better art style, and they are also now expressive, depending on how well the player is performing. Similar to Bust a Move, the Peggle Master will react to your shots with enthusiasm or anxiousness, and similar to Puzzle Fighter, they will express themselves after a particularly high-scoring shot. The characters are very well-designed, and its nice to see them improve along with the rest of the game.
- Excellent value for money ($11.99 USD/$15.95 AUD download via your Xbox LIVE account)
- Tons of replayability
- Multiplayer and Leader boards really add to the game
The Xbox One needed some stellar Arcade titles to get the ball rolling, and Peggle 2 is an excellent game to do just that. Much like the first Peggle, Peggle 2 is proof that a casual game can be one of the funnest experiences you can have on a home console. The very definition of a perfect puzzle game!
Score – 10/10