I admit I’ve been a little distracted recently. Consumed by massive open world RPGs and tactical first person shooters I’ve had time for little else. So when the assignment for Trine 2, from Atlus and Frozenbyte, was handed to me I knew absolutely nothing about the game. I didn’t even know what type of game I was about to play as I downloaded the game off Xbox Live Arcade. For the first time in my gaming life I went into a game with absolutely no preconceived notions and no expectations. It was actually rather refreshing.
I soon discovered that Trine 2 is a 2D puzzle-platformer with action and RPG elements thrown in the mix. The story is standard fantasy fare. Three heroes are summoned by the mystical Trine, which looks a bit like a floating chandelier, to save the realm from an unknown evil. The nature of the threat is a mystery that is gradually revealed throughout the game. The graphics are rather pleasing, featuring hazy, soft colors. It feels as if you are playing in a watercolor painting.
You play as three characters: Amadeus the wizard, Zoya the thief, and Pontius the warrior. You can swap between the characters at any time and you will need each character’s unique abilities to surmount the game’s various challenges. The thief uses a bow for ranged attacks and a grappling tool that can be used to swing or ascend from wooden surfaces. The warrior is, of course, the brawn of the group. He is best utilized in the fight sequences armed with a shield and sword, but he also carries a hammer which can be swung or hurled to bash through breakable walls. The wizard is where the game really shines though. He is the puzzle solver of the group. Playing as the wizard, the right control stick moves a cursor on the screen that can manipulate objects and enemies. The wizard can also conjure objects like blocks and planks to help solve the numerous puzzles. Collecting orbs found throughout each level grants skill points that you can spend to improve each character’s skill set.
Trine 2 is certainly chock full of puzzles. They start simply enough. Early on many have multiple solutions depending on which character you use. The difficulty steadily ramps up throughout the game and each successive level adds new wrinkles. Puzzles involving the manipulation of air, water, and portals are a few examples of how Trine 2 keeps things fresh and interesting. There are also many hidden areas and collectibles to find in each level, and some of the toughest puzzles involve reaching these hard to reach areas. While the game is challenging it rarely becomes frustrating thanks to numerous checkpoints throughout every level which both saves the game and revives any fallen characters. You can experiment freely without the fear of losing your progress if you fail. The only time I really became frustrated was when I encountered a glitched puzzle which forced me to restart the level.
As with most puzzle games Trine 2 is best as a single player experience. However the game does offer multiplayer. In multiplayer each person controls one of the characters. The characters still have to swap out and each swap must be agreed upon by both players involved. It is a nice added feature, though it may not be one of which many gamers will want to take advantage. The satisfaction of puzzle games is in the solving, not watching one of your buddies figuring it out before you.
Trine 2 offers a refreshing break from some of the bigger budget games you may have recieved this holiday season and shouldn’t be overlooked. The many puzzles are both challenging and satisfying and the action sequences interspersed throughout does a great job of breaking up the gameplay and keeps the game feeling fresh throughout. Finding all of the collectibles and hidden areas offers limited replayability but your first playthrough is satisfying enough to be more than worth the 1200 Micrsoft points ($15) price tag.Add to favorites