Game: Trine 2
Reviewed: July 2014
Trine was one of the more polished indie games to come out in 2009, as can be seen in our review. Two years later, the sequel came out, and managed not only to meet the standards of the original but also to exceed them.
Once again, you take control of the wizard, thief and knight, each with their own set of skills. The knight has a shield to block things and a sword to fight monsters, the thief has a bow with different types of arrow and a grappling hook for getting around and the wizard can create boxes and bridges and levitate objects. As before, you can switch between these characters at any time and utilise these skills to solve the various puzzles throughout the game. If anything, the puzzles felt even more varied than in the first game. They're also harder and require quite a bit of thought to get past at times. They mostly involve simply finding a way past obstacles and finding ways to collect the optional extra orbs. These orbs might not be compulsory for completion but they're certainly useful. Collect enough of them and you can upgrade a skill for one of the characters, from increasing the number of objects the wizard can simultaneously create or allowing him to magnetise them to providing arrows to the thief which create areas of localised low gravity. Without any of these skills the game would be even harder.
Trine 2 is even more stunning graphically than the first game. Though the movement is two dimensional, the graphics are full 3D and are extremely well designed. This isn't just in technical terms but in art style too. The environments are hugely colourful, diverse in setting and beautifully realised. It ranks amongst the best looking games I've played. Alongside this are some responsive platforming controls making movement through the levels a joy, especially when you start swinging from ledge to ledge with the grappling hook, and it’s all aided by a great physics engine. Very occasionally the jumping can feel a bit imprecise but never in a way that damages the game or causes you to lose too much progress. Stacking objects can be a little fiddly, but then that’s arguably part of the fun of getting through the game anyway, and often it’s when things go wrong that the game is at its funniest and most entertaining.
The biggest improvement of all though is in the co-operative multiplayer. The first game had the option but it had limited use since it was only usable locally and not online. The sequel has full online co-op that works very well, and it's surprisingly customisable. For a start, there's two game modes, one in which each player sticks with one character for the game and another where each player can switch between any of the three characters at will, even having all the same if they want. Each of these modes offers different options for solving the puzzles and it all works just about perfectly. There's also different options for how levitation works between players that can alter the difficulty of getting past obstacles, though allowing player levitation would make almost everything trivially easy. We did have connection issues with the server on one night but never lost much progress even then due to fairly regular checkpoints.
The game is fairly lengthy too with levels longer than in the already substantial first game. On top of this, the Complete Story also includes an additional level originally exclusive to the Wii U version along with the entirety of the Goblin Menace expansion which itself can add around another 5 hours of gameplay if you try to work out how to collect everything. The levels add even more variety and are just as good as those from the normal game. The game is a good length and if you're interested in replay value there's plenty of that with the single player and two different co-op modes encouraging different solutions to the games problems. The multiplayer is certainly the most fun way to play it though.
Other than the very minor things mentioned, there’s really little to fault in Trine 2. If there’s one disappointing thing, it’s that when a character dies, they can’t respawn until a save point is passed, which in multiplayer can mean a player has to sit out of section of level while waiting for the next checkpoint to be reached, although if it’s nearby, the other players can just run back to the previous checkpoint to bring them back. The game builds on everything that the first game did so well and improves in almost every area without changing the basic formula of the game. It’s challenging without ever being frustratingly so. Overall, Trine 2 comes highly recommended and is one of the best modern platform puzzle games around.
Arbitrary Final Score:
If you like this, you might also like: Trine, Lost Vikings, VVVVVV
Did you think the sequel improved on the original, or does the co-op do nothing for you? Let us know in the forum!