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Most of you probably remember EA’s E3 press conference last year where Peggle 2 was announced with no trailer or images. It was just the jump of excitement by PopCap themselves and that was it, which turned out to be one of the more popular gifs of the show. Peggle as a game seemed like it already had it all with the easy to learn, hard to master mechanics in terms of making good shots on numerous levels. Then there was the Nights expansion with more masters and levels players can play. Here we are with Peggle 2 and it is just simply more Peggle, but as a safe numbered sequel on the Xbox One.
The core gameplay hasn’t changed significantly from the original and it’s expansion. You have up to ten balls to line up shots hitting as many pegs as possible. The orange ones are the ones more important to hit as you have to clear them all to progress to the next level. Blue pegs are your normal pegs, purple ones score you more points, and green ones enable a Peggle master’s special ability. Just like the original, this sequel teaches and introduces the various mechanics well each level, but it does get challenging near the end. It is still a pretty simple concept with hard to master mechanics, but lining up and executing the perfect shot for a bigger score is still one of the satisfying moments in these Peggle games. It is a formula that still works well, but I wished PopCap took more chances with the mechanics and the level design instead of playing it safe.
Despite all of that said, Peggle 2 is the more relaxing and laid back games I played since well, the original. It is a good game to serve as a break from the competitive atmosphere of most of the Xbox One’s launch lineup. There are six worlds with ten levels each with five Peggle masters to mess around with. Bjork brings back the Super Guide power-up from the original, Jeffrey’s bowler is pretty self-explanatory, Berg’s Deep Freeze can push out circular pegs to others for more points, Gnorman’s Peco Volt also hits neighboring pegs, and Luna’s Nightshade lets the ball be invisible through blue pegs. Each of the power-ups provide their usefulness in their catered levels, but I only found the Peco Volt and the Nightshade the best ones for high scoring opportunities when used right.
Along with 60 normal levels, there are also 60 trials to beat where specific shots to have to be made to complete most of them. Once all of those are beaten, all of the normal levels can be replayed over again if you missed optional objectives, but other than the bare bones online mode, Peggle 2’s replay value isn’t much.
The online in this Peggle sequel is the Peg Party mode that has appeared in past games. Players take turns taking shots in their own boards and the highest score wins. Numerous boards can be played with certain rules being toggled on or off, but other than that, I don’t see myself playing Peggle 2 online compared to the other Xbox One games out now. There is potential of DLC in the works as PopCap has a “coming soon” tab on the game’s main menu, so we could see a Nights-like expansion sometime in the future or even more online modes to spice things up.
Graphically, Peggle 2 looks solid as expected, but of course you’re not playing a game like this for graphics on a next generation console like the Xbox One. However, what’s disappointing about the game’s performance is the framerate in certain levels. In most of the levels, the game runs fine, but the framerate hitches at a handful of others and during online matches. It is pretty odd to see slowdown in a Peggle game, but that is the case on the Xbox One version, so we’ll see how it pans out for other versions once Microsoft’s timed exclusivity for the game ends. The soundtrack for the game is also the same as the past games, so if enjoyed hearing those classic tunes back in those games, they’re still good to hear in the sequel.
For $12, Peggle 2 is a solid yet safe sequel by EA and PopCap. The core gameplay is still intact even though I wished more chances were taken with the mechanics and the level design. On the Xbox One, it is worth having around if you need a break from more intense games that are out now and need something relaxing to play. While there is enough single player content to keep players busy for a few hours, the online options are bare-bones. For a game with nothing frantic going on, it is odd that the framerate hitches during certain levels and online sessions. With all that said, if you’re itching for more Peggle, Peggle 2 is definitely worth playing.