When the original Trine was released back in 2009, it received plenty of praise for its unique puzzle-solving elements involving physics. Developer Frozenbyte has since mastered the craft and decided to grace us with a sequel that once again follows the antics of these three off-color characters. Trine 2 builds heavily on the successes of the first game, beefing up the visuals and, of course, the challenge. Combine that with appearing on Xbox 360 for the first time, and you have a recipe for a successful downloadable game that arrives just in time for Christmas.
If you never played the original game, you can still jump into the second one. The game plays it out like each game is a tale of these characters, and required knowledge of the lore isn’t necessary. The story really only plays out in between levels, with a narrator describing the events or the display of a few cut scenes. It isn’t intrusive, nor is it filler. It feels just somewhat in the middle. You can enjoy the story; just don’t expect to be engulfed in it.
One area that might strike you if you haven’t played the original, though, is the tutorial. Yeah, the game shows you the basics and teaches you controls, but these puzzles really are thought-provoking at times, and sometimes the clear answer isn’t always the right one. Thankfully, the game never punishes you for being creative; in fact, most of the puzzles have multiple solutions, making each person’s play through somewhat unique. If you enjoy games that give you the freedom to experiment without much consequence, Trine 2 is your game.
You assume the role of three very different characters in the game, Zoya, who is a thief that wields a bow and grappling hook, Amadeus, the wizard who can conjure items and levitate them and, finally, Pontius, the knight who wields a sword and shield and hammer. Each character plays a specific role in the game, and you can swap between them by simply tapping a button. If one character dies, you can resurrect them and replenish your health bars at any checkpoint orb. Switching between characters is imperative to solving a lot of these puzzles, and is what gives Trine its unique approach to the genre. You may need Zoya to shoot her arrows to break a rope and then have Amadeus conjure a wooden plank to cross the chasm. This is just an example, but you get the idea.
Each character also has an upgrade tree that you can use to give them more power. For instance, you can increase the number of objects Amadeus can conjure at once, or give Zoya ice arrows to freeze enemies. None of the upgrades are required to finish the game, but they do make instances much easier as you get further in the game. You collect orbs throughout the game, which is what you use to level up. Each level gives you one point, which you can disperse as you see fit. It is a light RPG element, but one that can help in the long run of the game.
With three characters, you can definitely see the potential for co-op. Trine 2 features three player both locally and online, and it dramatically changes the game while making it a bit easier. Planning methods to solve puzzles with a buddy is fantastic, plus you have the advantage of having multiple abilities at once. For example, you could use Pontius to shield you while you move boxes around, or have Amadeus levitate the box you are standing on to another platform. It opens up the game dramatically and gives you even more ways to play it.
As I mentioned earlier, the game is gorgeous. Each level brings a color-filled palette that simply shines on an HD setup. The animations are superb, and the physics engine is still one of the best. Everything reacts properly. The frame rate can take a hit when the action gets crazy onscreen or there are a ton of objects floating around, but it never breaks the experience. Sound is good with a fitting soundtrack and some passable voice acting.
Trine 2 is exactly what Frozenbyte intended it to be: a follow-up to a unique puzzle-platformer that beefs up the visuals and puzzle design. If you enjoyed the original, or enjoy the puzzle genre at all, this is a must get. The co-op is a blast, the puzzles will have you scratching your head for hours and the visuals are absolutely jaw-dropping. With thirteen levels, three characters and co-op that completely changes the game, you truly get a wonderful package for a small price here. I suggest giving the demo a try to see if Trine draws you in, because if it does, it may consume you for quite some time.
Review copy of the game provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.