Popcap made the next-gen transition today with the release of Peggle 2 for the Xbox One. It is $11.99 and it’s quickly become one of the first must-buy Xbox One titles. I'm happy we finally have the chance to play more Peggle, but I'm even happier that Microsoft and EA (Popcap's owner) didn't tarnish the memory of the original Peggle by force feeding us micro transactions. When you pay your money, you're getting the full game with no “gotchas”. You don't pay for extra balls, extra powers, Peggle masters or even costumes for said Peggle masters. Somehow, Popcap managed to avoid this money grubbing tactic, despite going the free-to-play route with Plants vs. Zombies 2 and the Xbox One's current track record of including additional purchase options in full priced exclusive games.
Peggle is loved by many because of its simplicity, a whimsical cast of characters and its tendency to hit you over the head with positive reinforcement through visual and sound effects. The same goes with Peggle 2, but those things have been amplified. The tones that increase in pitch after every peg hit are not the same throughout the entire game, but they serve the same purpose; they're audio indicators that tell you just how good you're doing. At the same time, explosions of color and animations of your Peggle master reinforce the results of your perfectly executed shot. And then there's the final moment when one orange peg is left standing. The music remains at a constant swell as you line up your shot. The camera zooms in, the targeted peg lights up and the iconic "Ode to Joy" blasts through your speakers. In the next world, a different iconic song plays to put the stamp of approval on your victory. It's hard not to smile every time this happens.
Peggle 2 is as approachable as it's always been, but it can also be competitive as well. There's a multiplayer mode where four people can play with each other over Xbox Live. The goal in multiplayer is to score as many points as possible as opposed to simply clearing all the orange pegs. You can even peek at each player's screen to see what they're doing. Matches don't last too long because everyone has a time limit. There's no waiting around for long periods for that one person to line up the perfect shot. It's a very simple take on multiplayer, but I like it.
Peggle 2 is one of the best games for the Xbox One, and it also happens to be the cheapest. You should buy it.