A game of luck or a test of skill?
The original Peggle was a massive success on Xbox 360. It’s simple controls, gorgeous colours and delightful music meant anyone seeing or hearing it from across a room would have to stop, watch and a fight for a controller would no doubt ensue. Almost five years have passed since we experienced the ball bouncing delights of the first game, but it now looks like we had best get reunited with that addiction clinic because Peggle 2 promises to grab us again.
And if you’re after more of the same, then you’re in luck because that’s exactly what Peggle 2 has.
The gameplay hasn’t changed in the slightest. You start a campaign level with 10 balls and numerous blue, green, pink and orange pegs with the sole aim of clearing out the latter colour whilst also getting as high a score as possible. Your left stick lets you line up your shot and a quick press of the A button fires the ball on it’s merry little way, pinging between the pegs until it finally hits the bottom of the screen. Clear out all the orange pegs and you’ll move on to the next level. Don’t and you won’t. Simple as.
The only difference between levels comes about when you smash the ball against a green peg, activating the special powers of the five Masters overseeing each level. Bjorn, Jeffrey, Berg, Gnorman and Luna, all have differing powers that are activated whenever the ball hits a green peg. These powers can have an extreme effect on how the level pans out, and as long as you think about what you are doing beforehand, they will help your score rise high as a kite. Whilst on the first play through the campaign, you’ll find yourself limited to a certain Master for each level, however once you’ve run through it once, you are then free to choose whoever you wish to help you increase your score and further complete the objectives set for each stage. There are times when you’ll need to use Gnormans Uber Volt power over Jeffreys Bowlder or Lunas Nightshade in order to complete the objectives, and what will work well for one level may be of no use in the next, with trial and error being pretty high on the Peggle 2 agenda. Three goals exist for each stage, usually requiring a full removal of pegs or seeing a high score reached before you see a full 100% completion of each level, and constantly going back to get this perfect completion is where the main replay value of the game lies. With ten levels run by each of the five Masters (plus an additional 10 Celestial stages in which you can use any Master), there is only a few hours tops of gameplay before you finally reach the end. Thankfully for anyone wishing to complete all the level objectives, the replay value in the game is extremely high and will therefore give you plenty more hours of enjoyment and fun, as long as you are happy to put up with the odd frustrating level or two.
Tacked on, and perhaps that’s being tough on it because it’s a damn good section in itself, to the campaign mode is a new Trials section. Encompassing ten more levels for each Master these range from stupidly simple tasks like playing 3 bucket shots in a row, to insanely hard affairs in which you’ll need to change your way of thinking whilst attempting to get as low a score as possible. Over a little too soon, these trials are good enough in themselves but once you’ve completed them the first time, there is very little use in going back to give them more than a once over.
There is also a multiplayer mode available to play in, where you can go up against one, two or three of your online friends in an attempt to earn the most points on a single level. It’s good fun whilst it lasts but with no leaderboards or recording of any stats, any success you achieve is quickly forgotten. It’s a bit disappointing that this is the only multiplayer choice currently available, especially as it pales into comparison with the options available on the original game. The recent announcement of the upcoming classic ‘Duels’ mode and the currently greyed out ‘Peggle Store’ section in the main menu promises there is more to come. If those promises come to fruition and also drop some split screen multiplayer, some new trials along with some much needed leaderboards, then Peggle 2 could well become a ‘must buy’.
I challenge anybody on this earth to not be smiling when they first see Peggle 2 on their screens. It’s joyful, it’s colourful and with it’s amazing musical score, it brings a whole sense of fun to the life of those playing it. Whilst it has changed slightly from the original, it is still essentially the same great little casual puzzle game it always was, although as it currently stands there isn’t much to make you keep going back to playing it over and over again.
Peggle 1 received supremely high accolades and is one of the greatest and most addicting games ever made. Peggle 2 doesn’t quite reach those heights but it’s still a damn good game that easily be picked up by a hardcore gamer, a casual player, your nan or your kids!
Not bad for a game of luck.