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Game Guys review - Peggle 2

2:57 PM, Dec 11, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'Peggle 2' is the sequel to the 2007 puzzle game 'Peggle' from PopCap Games.
  • 'Peggle 2' is the sequel to the 2007 puzzle game 'Peggle' from PopCap Games.
    

It appears Peggle Fever is spreading again.

Debuting in 2007, Peggle was a big hit for studio PopCap Games (Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies). The concept was simple: knock out all the orange pegs by firing a series of tiny balls. Between the cleverly designed levels and ball physics that required precise shots by players, Peggle is arguably one of the most entertaining puzzle games ever.

Now, PopCap's franchise is reborn in Peggle 2, a more colorful, challenging and charming puzzle game for the Xbox One.

Peggle 2 features six stages, each with 10 Adventure Levels and 10 Trials. Initial levels feature rows of orange and blue pegs, while a bucket moves across the bottom of the screen. Players net points by knocking out all pegs, completing the level when all the orange pegs are gone. As players hit pegs, a Multiplier meter (the Multiplizer) fills up to help players earn more points.

The more pegs players hit with each shot, the faster they earn points and fill the Multiplizer. Players also snag bonuses for clearing a level with as few balls as possible, snagging Free Balls by catching them in the bucket. As players advance, level designs grow more sophisticated, requiring additional skill from the player to complete. When a stage is complete, players can move to a series of Trials with specific objectives, such as completing three shots off a wall or finishing a level with a score under 175,000 points.

Each stage features a comical Peggle Master that guides them using a special ability. The first stage introduces players to the Peggle Institute and Bjorn, an enthusiastic unicorn who uses a Super Guide to help players view the trajectory of a ball after its fired. Other Masters include Berg, a Yeti whose Deep Freeze knocks pegs into each other, and Luna with her Nightshade power that lets balls pass through blue pegs.

Levels are bright and colorful, while little touches such as the musical tones that pop with each hit of a peg and the reactions of Peggle Masters gives the game personality. Berg bites his nails furiously as you get down to the last ball, while Bjorn bangs his head like a guitarist in a heavy metal band.

Peggle 2 is rooted in skillful play. Clearing a level of orange pegs isn't that difficult on its own, but the real challenge is doing this while saving as many balls as you can or performing tricky shots that clear tons of pegs with one ball while also earning a Free Ball by dropping it in the bucket. At the end of each level, players snag a Bucket Bonus ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 points.

A big reason why this works is how the balls bounces off each peg. Players must carefully study the angles they take when firing their shot to ensure you max out the potential points gained. Each level includes three bonus objectives, such as reaching a set score or clearing every peg, so it's easy to return to levels to fully complete them.

Along with single-player levels, Peggle 2 features the entertaining Peg Party multiplayer mode. Up to four players battle on the same level, choosing their Peggle Master and fighting for the best score. Players can either start a Private match and invite friends or pick Smart Match, which allows them to enjoy some single-player fun until their multiplayer match is ready to roll.

Since this game is available on Xbox One, Peggle 2 leverages Kinect by letting users play with gestures and voice commands. Players hold up their hand and close their fist to control the cannon, holding up two fingers to aim more precisely. Players then say "Shoot Ball" or "Take Shot" to fire at pegs. Compared to the already simple scheme using the Xbox One controller (left stick to aim, bumpers to move slowly, A to fire), the Kinect option feels like a novelty.

Like its predecessor, Peggle 2 is a delightful downloadable puzzle game. Between its vibrant cast of characters and clever, challenging puzzles, it's a great addition to the Xbox One library.

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: PopCap Games
Platform(s): Xbox One
Price: $11.99
Rating: E for Everyone
Release Date: December 9
Score: 4 stars out of 4 (a 100/100 on News10's scale)

- by Brett Molina, USA Today

USA TODAY

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