-Combat can get repetitive
Final score: 9.5 / 10
Controller support: Yes
OS: Windows 7 / Vista / XP
Processor: 2.0 GHz CPU (Dual Core recommended)
Memory: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 1.5 GB
Video Card: ATi Radeon HD 2400 or NVIDIA GeForce 7600 or better (Shader Model 3.0 needs to be supported)
Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible
Additional: Please note that Trine 2 may not run on most Intel graphics solutions used in 2004-2009. The game does run on new (2010-) Intel HD Graphics 3000 or better.
I bought Trine a while ago during a Steam sale but neglected it for quite some time. After hearing that the sequel is coming, I tried it out to see if it’s worth getting excited about its successor. That was probably one of the best decisions I made last summer, as its top notch platforming and puzzles delighted me throughout that traditional drought of new releases.
Now, Trine 2 has finally arrived, on the PC and Mac via Steam, and is scheduled to also appear on the PS3, Xbox 360 or Linux, so it’s time to see if Frozenbyte, the developer of the series, managed to improve upon the original and deliver the best match between platforming and puzzle solving since its original, or if it’s better to save some money and just get the first game.
The three heroes are back ...
... and start a new adventure
Story While the original Trine told the story of the three main characters, Amadeus, the Wizard, Zoya, the Thief, and Pontius, the Warrior, and how they were stuck together through the Trine, the magical artifact that intertwined their destinies, Trine 2 sees them once again beckoned by the artifact and taken on a new set of adventures, whether they want to or not.
Trine 2’s story is a mixed experience, as while the characters are the same and all have lots of clever dialog, the actual narrative doesn’t really impress, as it’s even a bit confusing, at least in the beginning. While the three heroes managed to save the Kingdom last time, now they need to find out the cause of the peculiar and quite dangerous plants that have seemingly invaded the realm, as well as the ferocious goblins that attack everyone and everything in their wake.
Thankfully, you don’t really need to follow the story to actually enjoy the game, as you just progress through a variety of high quality levels that are filled with great puzzles and challenging platforming sections, not to mention some pretty intense fights with the aforementioned goblins.
Trine 2 is a puzzle platformer that delivers almost a perfect mix between the two gameplay genres, while adding its particular twist of seamlessly swapping between the three characters, using the power of the Trine to progress through the game.
Each character, the wizard, the thief or the warrior, have special abilities. Amadeus can conjure up boxes or planks, while levitating enemies, which make him ideal for solving certain puzzles or reaching difficult platforms. Zoya can use her bow to take down enemies while her grapple allows her to swing from various surfaces. Pontius, on the other hand, is a pure combatant, who can use his shield and sword to take out enemies, as well as his hammer that can smash through walls or be thrown across large distances.
The unique mix of gameplay from Trine 2 usually demands that you switch between them quite often, sometimes forcing you to conjure up some boxes, grapple onto platforms or fight off against waves of enemies. This is what makes Trine 2 so impressive, as you don’t get bored with the same character or his various powers. You can try and complete levels without switching heroes, for which there’s an achievement, but you really hit your stride when you keep swapping between them and upgrade their abilities to the maximum.
Speaking of upgrading, the XP orbs, which you can find throughout the levels, are back, this time allowing for a simpler chain of upgrades to the abilities of your heroes. As such, the wizard can start summoning more and more boxes, while the thief can use more powerful arrows, with frost or fire powers, and the warrior can wield upgraded weapons like a fire sword or a frost shield.
What’s best is that none of these powers require mana anymore, as you can spam your abilities to your heart’s content. While the mana gauge in Trine 1 didn’t really make its presence felt that often, there were moments when you’d get stuck because you couldn’t use any spells or special abilities due to running out of magical juice.
In this regard, and in others, Trine 2 is a much more streamlined experience that should be experienced by those that were put off by the troublesome original. You have multiple difficulty modes and there’s even a hint system that gets activated once you get stuck for two or more minutes. However, there weren’t a lot of areas where I was particularly baffled, so if you pay attention to your environment and keep using all the characters, you won’t be stumped by any major problem.
The combat feels a bit more refined, but you still do a lot of erratic movements, jumping around with Pontius or Zoya and trying to hit enemies before they hit you. There are quite a few boss enemies, but once you learn their attacks, they quickly become extremely predictable, so don’t expect that much variety when it comes to fighting.
Solve tricky puzzles ...
... and get out of funny situations
Trine 1 felt great in single-player but it was even better with a buddy, through the local cooperative mode. Now, Frozenbyte finally managed to add an online co-op mode, with support for up to three players, each wielding one of the heroes and allowing them to traverse the environments from the single-player mode. You can even choose a special mode called Unlimited where each player can control any hero they want. As such, you can play as three hulking warriors or three powerful wizards.
Playing with friends is definitely where the experience feels the best, as the wizard can easily transport his friends on top of conjured boxes, while the warrior can defend the others while they rush to solve a certain puzzle. Given that there are lots of long levels in the game’s campaign, you’ll certainly have plenty of adventures with your real life buddies, besides the virtual Amadeus, Zoya and Pontius.
Visuals and Sound
Trine 1 looked quite impressive but Trine 2 supersedes it in every possible way. Pretty much every level looks like it came out of a stunning children’s fairy tale book, with rich colors, a huge amount of details and all sorts of little touches that makes going through Trine 2 one of the most delightful interactive experiences of the whole year.
What’s more, the game even has support for Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology so, if you have a compatible graphics card, 3D Vision glasses and a monitor that supports such tech, you’re in for an even more impressive experience, largely because of little effects like seeing a swarm of fireflies sneak up from below the screen and dance around in the game’s virtual world. The 2D side-scrolling mechanic also lends itself perfectly to the technology, as you don’t get any first person motion sickness, so you’re in for a major treat.
In terms of sound, the game respects established fantasy tropes, with the characters all sounding really good in their Medieval British voices, while goblins have a thick and nasty accent that makes killing them that much easier. The soundtrack is even more impressive, as regular moments are accompanied by lighthearted tunes, while combat and boss fights use some faster paced songs that really get your heart pumping.
Explore Trine 2's world ...
... and meet new enemies
While it’s not quite perfect, because of the lackluster story and the repetitive combat, Trine 2 is an experience that should be tried out by any gamer, no matter if they like platforming or puzzle solving, or even if they played the original. In case you want a lightweight title to accompany you in the upcoming winter holidays, then Trine 2 is the perfect investment.