Hands-On Preview: Peggle 2 – Unadulterated Pure Joy & Happiness
When I was in attendance at Electronic Arts’ press briefing at E3 this year I saw trailers and presentations for games like Titanfall, NBA Live 14, and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. The PopCap presentation stuck with me the most out of anything because immediately after demonstrating Garden Warfare, PopCap co-founder John Vechey announced Peggle 2 with an extreme amount of enthusiasm (and became an E3 meme in the process), doing a simultaneous jump and fist-pump on-stage before walking off like nothing happened. After that, I still had no idea what to expect when I recently got my hands on the game, but I knew one thing: I would never forget the game, Peggle 2, ever again – no matter what.
Peggle 2 is a clear-cut continuation of its predecessor (a lovechild of pinball, pachinko, and brick-breaker), matching players up against Peggle “Masters” and challenging them to destroy all red pegs amongst a sea of blue, purple, and green pegs. Blue pegs are normal, and grant points. Purple and green pegs function as multipliers and special power unlockers, respectively. The entire object of the game rests on launching small metal balls down the board in attempt to hit all of the red pegs in the shortest amount of time. PopCap has varied this experience by including different challenges that involve less moves, more multipliers, and handicapped stages.
At the risk of sounding verbose, there is not much to say about this particular style of gameplay. The build that I tried out was responsive and very interactive. The challenges were varied, and I found myself encountering interesting levels of both difficulty and complexity. The Masters add some variety and humor to the level design. The Masters themselves are well-drawn, and their most memorable aspect are the silly and over-the-top animations that they exhibit whenever the player beats them up in a match and ultimately wins.
The most interesting aspect of the game for me however, is PopCap’s use of classical music compositions as both background music and as indicators for level progression. For example, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 appears in the game. As you progress through the level and move closer towards completion, the composition builds towards its ultimate crescendo. Having not such a creative use of classical music in a game like this in a while, it was my favorite aspect of my time with Peggle 2.
The developers at PopCap expressed their desire to reach a more hardcore crowd with the game. For me personally, it never really tapped into that side of me as a gamer. Peggle 2 felt like a Candy Crush or a pinball experience, something enjoyed in small doses, but humorous, addictive, and challenging nonetheless.
Peggle 2 is being developed by PopCap and will be published by EA for the Xbox One as a timed exclusive, with a release on other platforms to come later.