Originally slated as a Xbox One launch title, Peggle 2 released just over two weeks after the November 22 console launch. This title is only available on Xbox One through the online digital games store.
As a skill-type game, Peggle 2 can be a game that is primarily dependent on luck, but it can also be a game of precision and skill. To be sure, there is an element of random luck that contributes to how a ball bounces off of a peg, but the player determines the trajectory and timing of the initial shot.
So while the primary objective of a level may be to simply clear all of the orange pegs, a skilled player will attempt to complete the three challenges, or rack up as many points as possible with trick shots.
In the original Peggle, there were 10 Masters, which provide unique abilities, and affect a player's strategy. In the sequel however, there are only five Masters. Four out of the five Masters are new to the series (Bjorn, the unicorn is the only original Master that made it into Peggle 2).
Each of the Masters are designed in adorable fashion (by the way, various costumes can be unlocked for each Master), with little quirks, expressions, and phrases. Their personalities really shine through as you play through each of their 10 levels.
In addition to the standard 50 levels, there are 50 trial levels, which serve more as tutorial levels than anything else. Some trial levels require only one shot to be fired to complete, and others might take dozens of attempts to clear (there's one trial where you must clear four pegs that zip across the screen, and it's almost entirely dependent on luck).
Of course, classical music is gloriously matched up with the action going on during gameplay. Somehow, it's difficult to imagine Peggle being played with any other music.
As for multiplayer, online multiplayer wasn't working for me when I was testing it out, but screenshots certainly do look promising. And speaking of promises, local multiplayer (Duels mode) was announced as a free add-on, and PopCap has indicated that it will be coming soon.
Also lacking (for now, at least) are leaderboards, so that players can compete against each other for points. There have been no announcements from PopCap as to whether leaderboards can or will be patched in, so players will simply have to rely on game clips uploaded to Skydrive (here's a short montage from some of my best moments).
Peggle 2 is a bright, cheery, and addictive game. Clearing levels and completing goals is challenging, infuriating, and incredibly satisfying, all of which comprise the perfect recipe for a fun game.
It will not take very long to simply get through each of the levels, but the trials, challenges, and multiplayer gives players plenty of content. Peggle 2 is well-priced at just $11.99.
This review is based on a pre-release preview code provided by the publisher.