With a bright color palette to cartoonish unicorns and rainbows, Peggle 2 is a game that would seem to be marketed towards kids with no hint of sophistication whatsoever and would be easy to look past. It wasn’t until I saw someone playing it on Twitch that I finally understood what the game was really about, and that I wanted to play it!
On its surface, the premise of the game is simple. You go through character specific levels and you have one goal, to aim and shoot a silver ball onto the level to clear all the orange pegs. The control scheme is as easy as I just stated, you aim the gun at some pegs, and press a button to shoot. The ball bounces around the level and hits numerous pegs, and eventually falls to the bottom and out of the level. It’s simple enough that kids can play this game with ease, and my wife even plays and loves this game. However, just because almost anyone can play it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily easy.
Every time you play a level, the location of the red pegs is randomly generated. 2 green pegs are randomly placed throughout the level which activate your characters special ability. Also random throughout each level is the location of purple bonus pegs, which are vital to getting high scores and completing challenges. Finally, a large bowl strafes across the bottom of the screen. If the ball lands in the bowl, you will receive a free ball. All of these things individually wouldn’t really mean much, but when considered together you’ll have to plan your shots and strategy carefully.
Once you dive into Adventure mode you go through 10 levels with each character, generally starting off with teaching you the characters special ability on easy levels, then into average and harder difficulty levels by the end of their respective areas. Every level has 3 bonus challenges, such as reaching a certain score, having a certain number of balls left, or clearing all the pegs off the board to name a few. There are also 10 “Trial” levels per character which require you to perform specific tasks to complete it. These cater more to trick shots and things of that nature. Bonus objectives and trial levels are 100% optional to complete. Once a character’s area is completed, you move onto the next one with a different character.
I haven’t really acknowledged that this game has a great sense of humor and is just plain fun to play. When you’re down to the final orange peg and the ball goes anywhere near it, the game will zoom in to that peg and go in slow motion, if you miss, the crowd goes “Aww.” If you hit that final peg, the game goes into full-fledged celebration mode. Your character is dancing, the music changes, fireworks are going off, and finally the ball is bouncing around the level into one of 5 scoring buckets at the bottom of the level. The feeling of completing a level is celebrated in a big way and it truly adds to the experience.
Surprisingly, this game offers huge replayability. Completing the levels may not be all that difficult, but doing all the bonus challenges and trial levels would certainly take quite a bit of time commitment. Of course, the random generation of special colored pegs ensures that every playthrough of each level will be different. You will also earn the ability to play through each level with the character of your choice. Since the characters all have very unique abilities, if completely changes the playstyle for each level that you previously played.
Peggle 2 is an addictive, fun game. On the surface it is a simple game that anyone can play and enjoy, but actually offers a great deal of unexpected depth and strategy. This game is offered for free in the EA Access Vault for Xbox One users, but if you aren’t a subscriber of that service it’s still a bargain at full price on any platform.