GOT YOU PEGGED

EDGE - - PLAY -

Peg­gle 2’ s mul­ti­player is as re­sis­tant to change as its main game: cur­rently, the only mode avail­able is Peg Party, as seen in the orig­i­nal’s 360 ver­sion. Up to four play­ers play on the same board, and by hold­ing Y you can scroll through a list of win­dows to view moves in re­al­time. There are no free balls on of­fer, and you’re best off build­ing up your mul­ti­plier for a few turns be­fore ac­ti­vat­ing your Mas­ter’s spe­cial move. It’s the same as ever, then, but there’s one next-gen fea­ture: you can carry on play­ing sin­gle­player while Xbox One searches for a match in the back­ground. you aim straight for hard-to-reach or­anges. She will be the leader­board-fo­cused player’s Mas­ter of choice; you still get points for ev­ery blue peg your ball passes through, and they all respawn next turn.

Each Mas­ter hosts a world com­prised of ten stages – mak­ing for a com­pa­ra­ble of­fer­ing to the orig­i­nal’s 55 – plus there’s a sixth world in which you get to take your pick. Each world also con­tains a set of ten Tri­als, and these are more spe­cific and skill-based than the reg­u­lar stages, where suc­cess so of­ten comes more by luck than judge­ment. Some Tri­als task you with pulling off ex­trav­a­gant skill shots, such as us­ing Gnor­man’s Uber Volt to hit ten sep­a­rate pegs – a move mar­vel­lously dubbed as Ma­jor Dis­charge. Oth­ers ask that you clear a level of pegs with a sin­gle ball. You might need to fin­ish the level with a high score or, more oner­ously, a low one. Some give you in­fi­nite use of a Mas­ter’s su­per­power, or maybe none at all. They’re a de­light­ful change of pace: you know there’s a so­lu­tion, that what it tells you to do is pos­si­ble, and as such they re­quire a lot more thought than the fire-and-for­get na­ture of tra­di­tional Peg­gle. There’s an el­e­ment of skill in­volved at all times, of course, though it rarely ex­tends be­yond the tra­jec­tory of a ball’s first bounce. There­after, you’re in the hands of the Peg­gle gods. While it’s tempt­ing to take the credit for a shot that cleared half the screen, scored 100,000 points and bounced off the lip of the bucket that pa­trols the bot­tom of the screen, off a wall and back in for a free ball, you know you had lit­tle to do with it.

But Peg­gle’s se­cret is the way it makes you feel about these suc­cesses – and it’s here that this most feels like a true se­quel. Clear out a level and the re­sult­ing Ul­tra Ex­treme Fever is a big­ger fes­ti­val of light and colour than ever, and Xbox One’s Game DVR popup serves as an ex­tra pat on the back. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing crescendo is no longer limited to Ode To Joy ei­ther – each Mas­ter has their own piece of clas­si­cal mu­sic. Me­ters fill and re­fill with cas­cades of colour. Bonuses send your score rock­et­ing while the Wil­liam Tell Over­ture builds to a thrilling cli­max. It’s like win­ning a fruit ma­chine jack­pot on stage at the Last Night Of The Proms.

In the first game, this dopamine rush helped you over­look the rather ob­vi­ous role played by lady luck. Here, its remit has ex­panded, also help­ing you get over that spar­tan Mas­ter se­lect screen, en­sur­ing you for­give the rather sparse sin­gle-mode mul­ti­player com­po­nent, and mak­ing you for­get that the new Masters’ pow­ers have a whiff of gim­mickry about them. Peg­gle 2, then, is still Peg­gle, but there’s lit­tle to jus­tify the seven-year wait or its spot in Xbox One’s launch win­dow. And while it may not ask you to shell out 69p for turns, it’s seem­ingly only a mat­ter of time be­fore you’re in­vited to pay for modes and Masters that in the past would have been part of the pack­age from day one.

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