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Review

Peggle 2 Review

  • Game release: November 22, 2013
  • Reviewed: December 9, 2013
  • XONE

Round peg, round hole.

by

I love the rising notes that accompany the bounce of a Peggle ball as it tumbles from peg to peg, each tinkle perfectly pitched to the serene melodies underneath. I love how each selection on the menu screen is accompanied by the notes from Peer Gynt's "Morning", a subtle nod to Peggle 2's wonderful predecessor. And I love the rainbows, and the sparkles, and the blast of Ode to Joy that accompanies a perfectly cleared Peggle board. It's absolutely mesmerizing, and indicative of a game that's as much about lifting the weight of the world from your shoulders as it is spending hours figuring out the perfect peg-pummeling shot for a high score--and trust me, once Peggle gets its hooks into you, the hours will fly by.

Describe the absolute basics of Peggle to someone though, and they'll give you the sort of sympathetic stare they'd give to someone who'd suddenly confessed to Coldplay being their favourite "rock band". It's so stiflingly simplistic at first glance that it's hard not to wonder what all the fuss is about. All you do is shoot a small ball at different coloured pegs scattered around a level, attempting to hit each and light them up along the way. Blue pegs give you 100 points, orange pegs need to be cleared to progress, while purple pegs give you score boosts, and green ones activate power-ups. Once the ball drops out of play, the lit pegs disappear, and you fire off another shot. Your only method of control is over the direction of the ball and when you decide to launch it, with a neat physics system taking care of the rest.

That's the face of a true Peggle champion.

That might make it seem like there's not a whole lot you can actually do about hitting those pegs with any skill, and for sure, there's an element of luck about the whole thing. But it's that very randomness, the way that each shot is a gamble no matter how well-practiced you are, that makes Peggle so utterly engrossing--and the natural feel of the ball physics means that you never feel hard done by because of its random nature. The ball behaves just how you'd expect, and you adapt how you play around it. For every shot that hits just a single blue peg, there's another that somehow bounces across the board for a long shot bonus, hits a purple peg on the rebound, and then skims its way across a group of orange pegs before neatly landing in the moving free ball bucket at the bottom of the screen. It's an amazing feeling when it happens.

There are certainly some tricks to learn that come with practice too. Knowing how to skim a ball across a row of flat pegs for maximum points, or knowing just the right angle to hit a single peg to bounce it directly into the free ball bucket for a trick shot prove invaluable in later levels. With just 10 balls at your disposal, and many more pegs than that to clear, Peggle is just as strategic as it is random. Trying to beat challenges like clearing all the pegs, performing a certain trick shot, or beating an ace high score on each level can keep you going for weeks and months; I'm still trying to 100 percent the seriously tricky Zen level on the original Peggle to this day.

Ultra Fever! Catch it!

There are a bunch of new challenges too, under the guise of trials that challenge you to do things like beat a level under a certain score (much harder than it sounds), perform impossibly long slide shots, and score over a million points on a single level. But Peggle 2 never forces the really difficult trials upon you. There's as much satisfaction to be had from just nailing all the orange pegs on the one of the ingeniously crafted levels as there is in going after all the rainbow trophies that you're awarded for completing challenges. The delicate tones that emanate from each hit peg, the drum rolls, the way the camera zooms in as you're about to hit the last orange peg, and the rapturous explosion of music and colour are all brilliantly designed to stimulate the senses, and give you a real feeling of accomplishment, even for the smallest of tasks.

Then there are the Peggle masters, each of them offering a different power up to help you along the way. There's a greater visual focus on them this time, with each character getting the full body treatment, rather than being relegated to a headshot at the top of the screen. The results are absolutely hilarious. Play a Bjorn level and the colourful unicorn pulls the silliest of cringing faces as soon as you're down to your last three balls; perform a particularly great shot and his horn transforms into a rock 'n' roll set of devil horns; and sometimes, for seemingly no reason at all, he farts sparkles.

Bjorn is the only returning master this time, bringing his super guide power with him. The rest are all new and feature a bunch of inventive powers that do just enough to change the way a level plays out without undermining the core mechanics. Play a level featuring Berg the yeti and he freezes the screen, making the pegs slide around the screen when you hit them. Clever level design means there's plenty of opportunity to rack up some really high scores by chaining a bunch of pegs together. And if you get a particularly high score, you're treated to the awe-struck bleats of Berg's goat friends and a dance from the yeti himself, complete with a pixelated picture of his rear end.

In the first Peggle, Splork and his explosion power tended to be the go-to choice for nailing the really high scores. His counterpart here is Gnorman, a little tin robot that gives you the ability to hit three pegs at once for some outrageous high scores. His power proves particularly useful on levels that feature new armored pegs, which need to be hit twice, and levels that feature bumpers, which let you bounce the ball back into active pegs for more points. In a small but welcome tweak, you don't have to complete the entire game before being able go back and use a different master to tackle the level. Now, you unlock a master simply by making it to their level, which means you can take on the most tricky challenges much sooner this time around.

Bjorn is one insanely happy unicorn.

There are other little tweaks too, such as the colourful and imaginative backdrops, which are far more detailed than before, and the background music which gives a more sedate take on the different celebration themes of each character. Yes, this time you're treated to more than just Ode To Joy, and while it'd be a shame to give all the new tunes away here, rest assured they're just as well chosen, and just as shamelessly jubilant.

Indeed, it's that shameless pursuit of making Peggle 2 as fun and as accessible as humanly possible--no matter how cheesy the cost--that I absolutely adore. It's the very epitome of a pure gaming experience, one that can be as deep or as simple as you want it to be, and one that never loses sight of what makes it so appealing to so many people. Sure, the window dressing here plays its part in the fun as much as the core mechanics of the game do, but that's no bad thing; that all important feeling of accomplishment comes from the slick visual payoffs and charming audio cues as much as is does from skilful shots. Peggle 2's randomness simply isn't an issue once you're locked into the Peggle groove. It's heaps of fun, totally absorbing, and such a wonderful place to be.

The Good
Engrossing mechanics and scoring system
Hilarious master animations
New master powers are well thought out and fun to use
Loads of extra content to play through
Charming music, sound effects, and visuals
The Bad
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

Mark has played the original Peggle relentlessly on his iPhone nearly every day for the past two years. He's not quite sure how many hours that adds up to, but he knows from all the virtual Peggle trophies he has that it was totally worth it.

Discussion

113 comments
Tomcat2007
Tomcat2007

One of the best casual games ever.  I just wish it was longer, even for only $12 they should have added twice as many boards and a few more masters.   I mean, how hard is it to create a couple dozen more boards?? A designer could probably drag and drop some peg locations on a template and get a graphic designer to put in a background it's not hard I'm sure.  I can't help but wonder why we had to wait 6 yrs for this.  In fact I'm surprised we aren't already on Peggle 10 with 3D environments, rotating angles, zero gravity, balls that can warp through walls,  etc! 

Susan Roberts
Susan Roberts

when will this peggle 2 be ready for PC? anyone know?

Sarumite
Sarumite

Great game, though I would rather hadhey gotten someone else to review the game to get a more reliable opinion. 

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

There is no local multiplayer on the game.

prats93
prats93

Yet another timed exclusive for the Xbone.

breathnac
breathnac

Here it is! the game that makes the XONE a buy!

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

omgsh what am I missing here? I played the 1st one on steam back in the hey day and I was WTF a pachinko game?! 

if it were $5, like the original 360 arcade titles back in the days, I'd grab it, but $12 for a drop-the-ball-and-watch game? I dunno… 

Klikandclick
Klikandclick

peggle is insanely fun. can't you guys complain somewhere else for once?

meatz666
meatz666

Video review for Peggle 2.

VanOrd article about tips to play a 4.0 game.


Man, GS is really turning to shit.

vic3cr3amy
vic3cr3amy

If only I could summon the fury that was the GtaV troll storm I would direct it here, and lead the charge by saying "Why is this game not a 10?"

I heard zero criticality and zero negative in the review. Gamespot reviews have become all togeather confusing, mismanaged and worthless to me now. Is anyone at CBS interactive listening, these people need a review themselves. However, the video shows are spot on! - goodday =/

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

Is this out now to download or is it coming soon?

Biotasticmeat
Biotasticmeat

Going out of your way to trash a fun and addictive puzzle game just because its an Xbox One timed exclusive? Seriously though I think you've justified the purchase of your PS4 long enough. Why don't you STFU?

TehUndeadHorror
TehUndeadHorror

You guys should review more indie-style titles. The ones on PC never seem to get much attention, but it's nice to see a review pop up every now and again.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

Once this comes out on PC my wife is going to become addicted again >.< 

immortality20
immortality20

I'm definitely going to download this on Xbox One tomorrow. I haven't played it last week since Metro and Saints Row 4 were on sale for Black Friday at EB Games. Should be a lot of fun, really loved the first Peggle. Need more joyful games!


Why is the game an 8 when there is literally nothing on the bad side?

djames12345
djames12345

Im actually kinda pissed this is only for Xbone

fastharry
fastharry

i only care about graphics...is it 1080 or 720?

voice_of_enigma
voice_of_enigma

God the review sounded like a 10 - I might give it a 9 if it's really as good as the last one, but I'll have to play it first.....

RepoxMan1225
RepoxMan1225

If you're trashing Peggle in the comments, you probably torture puppies in your spare time.

niknokseyer
niknokseyer

I wanted to get this game but it saddens me that it doesn't have local multiplayer. :(

grumpytrooper
grumpytrooper

Peggle is a great game and I personally can't wait for this to be released on PC,  there is no better game to use to cool down from CSGO rage than the Peggle games.

Anyone who is trying to question this game because it hasn't got superultraleet graphics is imo a complete froon. Go get hold of Peggle or Peggle nights and have a go if you have never played it, you wont be sorry.

Lee Bailey
Lee Bailey

Oh Bjorn, what have they done to you man? You look like you've had a stint in rehab since the last game :(

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

I'm having fun - and that's what gaming is supposed to be about. Developers could learn a lesson here - not everything has to be too complicated, serious, or engrossing. We don't need to save the planet every time we turn on our console.

The reviewer forgot to mention the online component which is flawless and a lot of fun.

breathnac
breathnac

I dont think you need a next gen system for this game....

Boobr
Boobr

Y NO GOTY EDITION?!


But to be fair, at least there's one enjoyable Xbox One game now.

sofalover
sofalover

@Ahiru-San You will lose every single multiplayer game because you think it's a chance not skill.

It's like poker in that noobs think it's a game of luck.

gamespotpanayis
gamespotpanayis

@immortality20  Just because the game has no bad points.. doesn't mean it can't be improved.

The score, as I'd expect is what they feel the game deserves... and exactly what I'd expect from a review.. so a score of 8 for a $15 dollar game sounds like an excellent deal to me!

Fryboy101
Fryboy101

@immortality20 the same thing happened with the new Phoenix Wright game, and their reasoning was that every game they review doesn't start at 10 and go down. They give the score they feel the game deserves, even if there are no bad things about it

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

@djames12345 I think it will come to the PS4 eventually but Microsoft paid money to keep it as an exclusive for the first year.

xen0f0rm
xen0f0rm

@breathnac So we shouldn't release any fun games on new consoles unless they have super awesome graphics that literally blows your brains out? Makes sense to me HIRE THIS MAN!

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Same could be same with most next gen titles.

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

@sofalover just realized that it has zero multiplayer achievements, so no point in playing multiplayer at all. which makes this game luck > skill. 

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

@sofalover I can see how the strategy comes into play using the super-powers. I just don't see why this got an 8 and why the $12 price tag… (I know it would be $19.99 on PC).


then again, that's just my opinion, for a drop-the-ball-and-watch game, this would be a 3-4 tops, should have been $5.

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

@kariyanine @Ahiru-San @sofalover well the genre is different, I believe the same person who would play this on PC casually would be the kind of person who would play, let's say, Solitaire or Bejeweled for instance, with no achievement-hunting involvement, the same way a person who likes to play CoD, or Counter-Strike or whatever FPS that focus on multiplayer plays for the "multiplayer" itself, whether or not it has achievements.


either way, tons of FPS has multiplayer achievements nowadays, and I'm more driven towards an FPS game that has no achievements OR a not-so-fan-of-the-genre-game-but-would-play-if-it-has-achievements, so Peggle 2 falls in the "no-reason-to-play-multiplayer-at-all" since I'm not fan of the genre...

kariyanine
kariyanine

@Ahiru-San @sofalover not having multiplayer achievements doesn't signify a reason to not play multiplayer. CoD4 has no multiplayer achievements either yet I'm pretty sure most people found a reason to play that game.