Building on the success of the original game, Finnish developer Frozenbyte have brought Zoya the Thief, Pontius the Knight, and Amadeus the Wizard back for another round of adventures in Trine 2.
Is this reunion a can’t miss event or are the members of the Trine better left retired? Read our review to find out.While Trine 2 is currently available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Mac OS X, for our review, we played the PC version of Trine 2 and utilized the following setup:
- Intel Core i5-2500K @3.30 GHz
- ASUS, P8P67-M PRO Rev 3.0
- Corsair, 8GB (2 x 4GB) XMS3 PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz
- EVGA NVIDIA GTX 580
- Intel, 80GB 320 Series SSD, MLC
- Western Digital, 500GB WD Caviar Black (Install Drive)
- Windows 7, 64-Bit Professional Edition
- Samsung PN63C8000 63-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV
- NVIDIA 3D Play
- Wireless Xbox 360 Controller
For those unfamiliar with the series, Trine 2 is a puzzle platform game mixed with some light RPG elements. Presented in a left to right side-scroller fashion, Trine 2 requires players to use all three unique characters to successfully navigate the obstacles in their path. Zoya uses a bow and arrow to fight off foes and a grapple hook to reach high places. Pontius delivers high melee damage, destroys removable obstacles, and blocks incoming attacks or diverts water with his shield. Amadeus is the most useful of the three in that he can create boxes or planks to enable access to hard to reach areas and he can also levitate numerous objects to the team’s advantage. When the characters collect 50 potions, a skill point is awarded, which can be used to unlock an additional talent for one of the characters.
With all of the complexity of today’s games, the old-school feel of Trine 2 provides an instantly addicting and surprisingly rewarding experience right from the start. While the gameplay may harken back to another era of gaming, the visuals do not. Trine 2 is one of most stunningly beautiful games of this generation. Set in a whimsical and detailed fantasy world that looks like Avatar meets Lord of the Rings, the use of strong and varied colors emphasizes the otherworldliness in which the story takes place. The matte paintings in both the foreground and background are so inviting that I found it somewhat frustrating that I could not veer off the limited set pathway in order to explore this stunning and visually-intriguing world.
The immersive nature of the game jumps tenfold when played in stereoscopic 3D. Because the game design already provides a layered effect in 2D, the field of depth impressively expands so much that I felt as if I were looking through a picture window. For example, when enemies enter the fray from the foreground, they appear as if they are on the screen layer of the television moving away from the player and inward toward the heroes. This created an uneasy feeling for me as I realized my character was about to be ambushed. The background scenery also comes alive, making it feel as if it were truly a part of the play area rather than just an impressive piece of artwork hanging behind the action.
Aesthetically, Trine 2 is a masterpiece, but what about the game itself? While the story is not particularly remarkable, the gameplay featured in Trine 2 will appeal to those who enjoy solving puzzles. There are often multiple ways to solve a level and those who crave a problem solving experience over a mindless hack and slash adventure will be rewarded here. While there are moments where fighting is the only option, the combat sequences against the common enemies, such as spiders and goblins, are so simple that most will not be challenged by it. The bosses present a slightly higher degree of difficulty, but this is not a title that aims to infuriate à la Dark Souls. In fact, the puzzles are not particularly difficult and if players are stuck on a particular puzzle, the game’s narrator will chime in with some helpful advice, provided this feature is not disabled.
The only real in-game difficulty presented is controlling the onscreen characters while jumping. The jump physics are floaty and imprecise at times, which is especially annoying when trying to complete a difficult leap over a deadly obstacle. That issue notwithstanding, the controls are simple enough that most causal players will find them accessible. Dead characters are brought back to life at every checkpoint, so death of one or two heroes is not much of an impediment so long as the still living hero can reach one.
There is no differentiation between the single-player and multiplayer modes as both utilize the main story. However, the gameplay experience is altered significantly when playing with a buddy or two. When going at it solo, the player has control over one of the main characters and can switch on the fly as necessary. Because only one character is onscreen at a time, however, the player cannot simultaneously take advantage of the heroes’ skill sets. Instead, each hero must be used in a complementary fashion. During my experience, this typically resulted in using Amadeus to create and place items so that one of the other two characters could advance.
In two-player mode, gamers can actively assist one another. For example, when faced with an impossible jump, I would use Amadeus to create a plank and then float it between the two platforms. My buddy would then jump Zoya on to the plank and I would float the plank to the other platform. Each player can switch to the unused character at will, so long as he or she is still living. Three player co-op only slightly differs in that each player controls just one character and switching is only permitted if players agree to do so. One of the nice additions to Trine 2 is that it can now be played locally or online. Whatever your multiplayer preference, competing with a friend or two may cause players to lose track of time very quickly as the momentum of Trine 2 compels the completion of just one more puzzle.
Trine 2 can be completed in about 8 to 10 hours, provided players are not stumped by any one puzzle for too long a time. With the inclusion of a New Game+ mode and lots of hidden collectibles, Trine 2 offers some replay value. Games can be saved at any time and friends can join games in progress, making the overall experience a convenient one. Out of all the 3D titles I have played to date, Trine 2 easily makes the best use of the technology and is a great showcase title for impressing friends. Even without 3D enabled, the artistry of this game is worth the price ($14.99) of admission alone.
Trine 2 is now available for Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.