There are a lot of things I could be doing on Xbox Live at the moment. I could be playing Resident Evil 5’s Mercenaries Mode. I could be smacking Ken in his red devil mouth with well-timed Lariats. I could be playing F.E.A.R. 2, downloading a new television show, or even queuing flicks for my nasty Netflix habit.
Peggle (Xbox Live Arcade)
Go ahead and cheer -- Peggle translates to a controller. The venerable PC pseudo-casual title has made various platform hops with great success, and this time is no different. The magic and addictiveness are still intact. Just ask my copy of Resident Evil 5. She’s been largely idle since release night, waiting for me to pop her in and bring down the house with a marathon session of Mercenaries Mode. I can’t bring myself to do it, though, because I’m too busy clanking balls against orange pegs.
The depth comes from successfully utilizing the tools laid out in front of you. Green pegs allow you to utilize an avatar’s special power, granting a special ability that often cuts swathes through numerous pegs with one basic button press. Purple pegs give you points, which, in turn, can give you extra lives. A roving bucket at the bottom of the screen does much the same, but if you miss it, you lose a ball. Winning and losing is a matter of understanding the game’s physics, aiming precisely, effectively managing the special pegs, and having a willingness to trade reason for chance, since a whimsical shot often yields spectacular results.
And that’s where the new sweet spot is. Peggle boasts two great multiplayer modes. Xbox Live Duel is a one-versus-one Peggle Masters-style showdown against another player. TrueSkill rankings keep the competition tight, making sure every game is satisfying on some level.
Score: 9 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)
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