Peggle 2 review for Xbox One

Platform: Xbox One
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: PopCap Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes

So Peggle?s still a thing, right? Let?s hope so, because this week marks the arrival of Peggle 2 exclusively to Xbox One. And hey, Peggle?s still a lot of fun! Shooting a ball at a bunch of blue and orange pegs set against eclectically colored backdrops might not sound like the world?s most appealing set-up, but you?d be surprised with how easily Peggle sucks you in. And Peggle 2 is no different in that regard. Minutes spent with the game quickly become hours, with a surprising level of addiction that?s only easier to shake this time out due to what feels like a lack of content.

Peggle 2 brings five Masters to the table, cutely drawn cartoon creatures pulled from fantasy realms that allow players the use of a single unique power per Master. Fjord the Unicorn returns from the original game, while the other four are all-new to the series. If five sounds a little…less than what you were expecting, I?m right there with you. But with 10 stages to each Master, along with 10 new Trials per Master, plus an additional 10 stages open to any Master, this ends up offering about as many stages as the Adventure Mode found in the original Peggle without the Peggle Nights add-on. It won?t take long for you to clear the stages featured, but you?ll find some prolonged playtime if you opt to tackle the three optional objectives featured for each stage. Most of these consist of clearing all pegs on a board, finishing with a certain number of balls unused, not using a Master?s power, and a handful of other variations.

peggle2_ss2Two major omissions come in the form of no online leaderboards and no local multiplayer. Both are pretty surprising. especially the former. This game is almost entirely about score, so why wouldn?t you want to have an online leaderboard to compare against friends? Considering the Xbox One is pretty heavy on social features, it?s a really strange thing to see missing. Hopefully this is updated or patched soon, because it?s a glaring omission. No local multiplayer is also a loss, I played a fair amount of the first game with my wife, and now we?re stuck just swapping the controller back and forth between stages.

With that said, the online multiplayer is pretty fun. You?ll get paired up with three other players, each taking turns until all 4 players have exhausted their ball count or cleared their respective stages. You can choose your Master character at the onset of a round, and it can be fun and informative to see how other players tackle different stages. You can tune into other players and switch between them through a picture-in-picture style view, allowing you to watch players after your turn has ended.

peggle2_ss6Peggle 2 also makes use of the new Game DVR feature for Xbox One, but unfortunately its utilization seems a bit broken. It triggers far too frequently, often happening for moments that don?t feel all that spectacular. And when you go back to view footage, it doesn?t tend to record from the point the ball is shot, instead picking up mid-bounce and not really capturing the entirety of the moment. I love the idea in practice, but the execution here is poor.

But again, this is more Peggle, and at its core there?s nothing broken. The standard experience is a lot of fun, and remains super addicting. If you played the original, you?ll already have a good idea of what to expect. But I really wish PopCap had pushed the envelope a bit more with this, and had really pushed for features that should have been there day one, even if they?re introduced later through a patch. At a price tag of $11.99, this isn?t what I?d consider a steal. But if you?re absolutely dying for more Peggle, this will likely keep you satiated for a week or two.

Grade: B-