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Peggle 2 Xbox One

I’m not sure if anyone reading thinks along these same lines, but in my mind there has always been parallels between how Pixar and Popcap do business. They both create great family entertainment that can be appreciated by all ages, and when allowed to work on something brand new, it usually turns out surprisingly good. But both know bills need to be paid, and are not afraid to look to their back catalog for a safe bet. I am not saying Peggle 2 is Cars 2 (it’s better than that), but that’s the closest comparison that comes to mind.

NB: I am sorry Cars 2 for taking your name in vein. We of all sites should respect you. This will never happen again.

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Right from the get go, Peggle 2 seems to be the safest sequel Popcap could have chose to make. Seeing as we are now six years gone from the original, it is hard not to have expected more – even if I am not exactly sure what I wanted that “more” to be. Talking as a lazy armchair developer who constantly thinks he can come up with some great idea to trump everyone else (but never puts it into practice), it is still hard to decide on what direction Popcap could have gone to make Peggle 2 truly different to its predecessor. I am sure there were in-depth meetings on this very matter at Popcap, with them ultimately deciding more of the same was the only possible answer – and in the end that’s what we got. There are no earth shattering new additions here, nor are there sweeping changes, or twists. Peggle 2 just means more Peggle, and you know what, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Like the first time round, Peggle 2 boasts similar gameplay. You hit pegs with a ball, and rising notes massage your ears as it bounces around and hits more pegs. Then the stylistic flourishes build. With enough pegs hit,  numbers come up on screen, and count up to a ridiculously large total. Fireworks go off, lights flash, and rainbows appear – just because. Then joyous music comes to greet you like a long lost friend. It’s all akin to some strange candy-colored fever dream. The game constantly reminds you that it thinks you’ve accomplished the most important thing you could ever have achieved in your life – when in reality you just hit a orange peg with silver ball.

If all of life’s daily work had this much positive reinforcement life would truly be better. Imagine if every time I finished a review a celebration like that kicked-off? I’d be so happy, I’d never stop writing reviews.

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There are some changes to gameplay on show – but only slight changes. The most notable are that armour pegs appear on boards (that need to be hit twice to vanish). The more instantly noticeable alterations are to the graphics, as Peggle 2 has certainly been gussied up with some lavish visual niceties. I am no Digital Foundry, but I feel confident saying this game is not pushing the Xbox One. It is all bright and very shiny though, so there is not much to complain about. Peggle Master Bjorn is back  – but he looks like he got a bad facelift since our last encounter. We accept this nonsense from the likes of Anne Robinson, so we’ll accept his choice too. Alongside him are 4 new Peggle Masters, which means Popcap developed just 4 new special moves in 6 years? Let me be an armchair developer again, and state I wish they gave me a few more.

The Peggle Masters themselves are much more interactive now. In the move to Peggle 2, they now react to what’s going on on screen. They look a bit tepid when you are going for a game winning shot, and they’ll lose their frickin mind  –  akin to a meth addict at a rave – when you hit the final orange peg to best a board. All 5 of the Masters have separate victory themes – not everyone has Ode to Joy anymore. Some will accept this change, but many will hate it. I never knew I was so attached to a song until it was taken away from me.

All these little additions and alterations are nice enough, but like almost everything else mentioned above they feel distinctly lacking for a sequel in the making for 6 years.

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If you are looking for even more Peggle – right after this newly birthed Peggle – then the fact that there looks to be an in-game store on the main menu should interest you. There’s nothing to buy at the time of writing though, with only the phrase “coming soon” emblazoned over what looks to be a shopping cart to greet you. This would be a great opening to complain about DLC ruining games, and to write a hit-baiting news story on the subject, and all that jazz, but at least the game is not a microtransactioned mess – like Plants vs Zombie 2. Which is a game that has about the same tact as a pornstar shilling her Amazon wishlist on Twitter because all her videos have seemingly gone free-to-play on Pirate Bay these days. No, I don’t know why Bree Olson wanted a 14 amp electric pressure washer, but she did ask for one. Promise.

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Like Peggle Nights, Peggle 2 feels like just an extension of the original game and not a whole lot more. If Popcap were being truthful, they would not have added the extra numeral here, and instead followed Nights’ example – giving this release some clever subtitle instead. But this industry loves its numbers, and is never, ever that honest, so we get Peggle 2, which really is just shorthand for more of the same. It is still quality entertainment though, and should be enough to warm your heart on even the coldest winter days. I can’t help but want it to be more though – even if I still cannot fathom what that “more” should be.

7 out of 10