Peggle, like many of PopCap's games, has a rabid fan base, and while the announcement of a sequel was somewhat short and low-key during E3 2013, fans were excited that it was finally getting a sequel. While it is almost guaranteed to hit every platform imaginable, it will make its debut on the Xbox One and be one of the first titles on the new console. At this year's PAX Prime, we got a hands-on demo and came away with the expected result: This is Peggle.
For most fans, that's all they really need to know. The mechanics of Peggle 2 have remained exactly the same as before, with the objective of clearing the board of orange pegs with a limited arsenal of metal balls. Blue pegs also stand in your way, and while they can be seen as obstacles, skilled players can use them to reach inaccessible orange pegs or clear them for more bonus points. The master you choose also provides different abilities to make peg destruction a little easier for a short while.
In addition to new Peggle masters to choose from, there are a few cosmetic and gameplay-related changes. The look is much more animated than before, with your Peggle master now standing off to the side instead of being stuck in the gun. The full presentation of the character allows for idle animations as well as ones that depend on your performance. You may see your master grow nervous as the ball arsenal runs out, or you may see your master giddy with anticipation as the last orange peg is about to be cleared. The sounds are also different, with each master sporting different block bounce sounds and ending music that builds into a crescendo when more pegs are cleared. "Ode to Joy" is still in use, but fans can now hear lots of different classical music pieces. As for gameplay, each stage has different objectives meant for completionists, such as clearing all of the pegs and achieving a specific score in each stage. Undisclosed rewards are attached to each.
The demo version on the show floor came with two masters, and since lots of people would be familiar with Bjorn the unicorn, we decided to use Luna the ghost girl instead. Aside from bringing in cute animations, like her jaw falling to the ground and having a bird land on her and simply die, her special power was turning blue pegs into ghost bricks, which allow the ball to pass through and bounce off green and orange pegs. The power makes it easier for players to get a better bead on the orange bricks and lets them finish the level faster. The power comes with an underlying strategy because bricks that the ball passes through also count as being hit, thus making it easier to reach the "all clear" objective. It's a neat power, and we can't wait to see what the new masters have in store.
Even in this brief demo, Peggle 2 delivers the exact gameplay that fans expect while adding a few changes that enhance the experience but don't interfere with the core mechanics. Look for it to hit first on the Xbox One, followed by other platforms at an undisclosed time period.
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