Xbox One Launch Lineup Preview: Potential, Little Substance
Confession: next to Ryse: Son of Rome, this was my favorite game at the show. If you’re unfamiliar with Peggle, picture Angry Birds meets Bust-a-Move, which meets a pinball machine. The goal is to aim a top-mounted cannon at an intricate set of blocks below, and destroy all of the orange blocks before you run out of balls (you start with about 10).
Peggle 2 runs at a beautiful 1080p, and features a couple new additions to the formula. Each level’s “master” (a couple examples being Bjorn the unicorn, and Luna the skeleton doll) has been moved from the top cannon down to a left-hand sidebar, where they’re given more space to react to your play, show their personality, and emit custom barks.
Each master has its own unique magic power, which can be activated by hitting a green block. For instance, Bjorn’s power allows you to see not just the first path a ball will take, but also its second, ricocheting path. This helps set up more elaborate bounces, and conserve ammunition.
There are tons of levels, and each master has its own set of 10 “challenges,” in which you must complete a smaller board under certain circumstances.
Peggle 2 is the only game of the show that had me shouting out loud in satisfaction, for whatever that’s worth. It’s the kind the thing you can sink hours into. Good, light fun.
I’ll get more into describing Project Spark in an in-depth write-up. For the purposes of this round-up article, imagine a company with the vast technological, financial, and logistical resources of Microsoft setting out to make Minecraft. It doesn’t have that same kind of indie spunk, but man, is it powerful.
Project Spark confused a lot of people when it was announced at E3, which is only natural — it’s a confusing game. It conflates making a game with playing a game the way that only a few titles can, Little Big Planet and the aforementioned Minecraft among them. But through the way it provides players with the tools to generate huge worlds, the simple, visual programming language to write the rules for how that world works, and the peripheral support to fill it with cool stuff (tablet support for painting textures, Kinect for creating animations or recording dialogue), the game has the potential to transform the way we all think about games — how they work, how they’re made, and how they can be better. And not only that — a kid-friendly presentation means that this game can wean the next generation of genius developers.
Be sure to check out all of Game Front’s continuing coverage of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 — from launches to launch titles, and everything in between — on our Next-Gen Consoles Channel.