Peggle 2 Magical Masters Edition

$12.87

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Complete Review & Description

Peggle 2 Magical Masters Edition was announced with very little fanfare at EA’s press conference at E3 this year. The dead silence that followed after the announcement – as opposed to the cheering for Battlefield 4 – was awkward to say the least. That said, I was one of the two people in the room – the other being Gameskeys.net.com editor Alan Bell – who was genuinely excited.

Why get excited about such a casual game? Because it’s a casual game made by PopCap, a company which has proven time and time again that it has a lock on the market for good reason. The only way it could be a complete failure in my eyes was to ruin a good thing by adopting a microtransaction model, the way the company did with Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time. Thankfully, PopCap didn’t take this approach.

Peggle would be a hard thing to screw up. You move a pointer, shoot a ball at pegs, and the ball hits them and removes them from the board. Different coloured pegs have different point values, and to pass a level you have to clear all of the orange ones.

It’s such a simple premise, but one thing Peggle 2 Magical Masters Edition proved to me while I was playing through it was that it’s one of the most satisfying games out there. Perfectly lining up the ball so it slides along a series of pegs, removing them all from the board at once (called an ‘extreme slide’ in-game) makes me want to fistpump so hard I’d dislocate my elbow. If you’ve ever played as infected in Left 4 Dead 2 multiplayer and cornered a survivor all alone, or gotten an armour-lock kill on a Ghost in Halo: Reach, the feeling is similar.

Seasoned players will be happy to know that there’s a new set of Peggle masters in Peggle 2 Magical Masters Edition, with the exception of Bjorn, the unicorn from the first game who showed you where your ball would bounce after hitting a peg. Peggle masters are characters who assist you in clearing the pegs, each using a different power. One character called Jeff is based on The Dude from The Big Lebowski – seriously – and is a troll who loves bridges. (Get it? Jeff Bridges?) Unsurprisingly, he uses a massive bowling ball to take out large chunks of pegs all at once.

While Jeff’s power is easy to use, some of the new characters are quite hard to get a handle on. In particular, a character called Luna has the power to make the ball go straight through blue pegs rather than bouncing off them. She also makes any blue pegs that you’ve already cleared reappear temporarily. At first I had trouble getting a handle on it – I couldn’t get past the fact that I could see the blue pegs but not bounce off them – but once I figured out how to best use Luna I was scoring points like a politician who’s just found out about his opponent’s affair.

But alas, before I even started playing Peggle 2 Magical Masters Edition I knew it wasn’t going to be the perfect casual couch game that the original was. Because they got rid of the feature that made it a couch game in the first place – same-screen multiplayer.

I can’t explain how baffled I am by this.

It’s not that there’s no multiplayer option – you can play online with up to three other people, although I wasn’t able to test this because, well, no one else had Peggle 2 Magical Masters Edition yet. There’s just no same-screen multi option, which makes about zero sense. It doesn’t seem like it would have been a whole lot of extra work, particularly because the improvements on the first game are fairly incremental. And they’re releasing it first on the Xbox One – a platform perfectly designed for multiple people playing on the same screen.

While I am frowning extremely hard in PopCap’s general direction for that decision, it’s not even Peggle 2’s Magical Masters Edition biggest problem. The game crashes. I mean, it crashes a lot. Oh, you finished a level? Let’s return you to the Xbox home screen. You’re loading a new level? There you go, back looking at your pins. Oh, you’re on the last shot of an extremely difficult level that you’ve been trying to conquer for more than an hour? LOL, SEEYA.

I hope – I mean I really, really hope – that this issue was either limited to my console or that it gets fixed altogether, because it’s a real annoyance. Not enough to stop me from enjoying the game, but when a developer releases a game that’s fundamentally broken I tend to get a bit snippy. This game would have easily been an 8 out of 10 had it worked properly.

Here’s to day one patches, I guess.

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