When I first heard that Trine 2 would soon be arriving to the world of video games, I was skeptical. Part of the charm of Trine lay in the fact that the game was so self-contained. It presented a clear beginning, middle, and an end. So, my questions was, how would Frozenbyte bring us back into the world when our three heroes had clearly had their happy ends? I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the Trine 2 beta and I was not disappointed.
The kingdom is in peril, as kingdoms always are, and the mystical trine collects the souls of our three heroes to combat this newest threat. Amadeus, our witty wizard, protests that he has little time for world saving as he has children waiting at home. Pontius, our pot-bellied knight, oozes with enthusiasm at the prospect of impending heroism. Zoya, our shadow-dwelling thief, well, she just wants all the treasure– she is an entrepreneur, after all.
Before I even made it past the title screen, the game’s visuals had already caught my attention. The first game’s vivid and lush fantasy settings are back and are packed with so much detail my eyes hardly knew where to start. So, I’ll start with the character models. Trine’s character models were not very detailed compared to the environments they travelled in. The first thing that struck me was the level of detail to both our heroes and the goblins they fought. The characters take up more of the screen. Amadeus’ robes are filled with golden runic embellishments that glimmer and glow. Zoya is no longer composed of white blocks and long legs, but instead is a mysterious woman wrapped within white robes. The goblins were a treat; I had been expecting another endless parade of unvaried skeletons and instead found myself assaulted by armored goblins toting spears and arrows. Finally, the environments are also endowed with new levels of detail. I stumbled across rainbow-colored leaves, sparkling waters, and massive snails.
The basic mechanics of switching between the thief, wizard, and knight to traverse 2D environments and solve puzzles remains the same. Players collect experience in the form of little crystal containers and use this experience to buy abilities. The abilities in Trine 2 have been upgraded. Zoya is able to buy an ability that will make her invisible to enemies. I was able to buy an ability that allowed Amadeus to pick up enemies, an ability that was not available until the final stages of the original Trine. The puzzles have also become much more dynamic and challenging. Where in the first game I could use the wizard to get me through most obstacles, here I was forced to make use of all three characters to progress through the level. The puzzles were engaging; in one, I needed to divert the flow of water to make a plant grow. In another, I found myself twisting pieces of pipes to change the direction of the wind.
The biggest new development in Trine 2 is the online gameplay. Players can now grab their friends (or enemies) to traverse the game’s many puzzles. For the most part, online gameplay seems to be solid. It is easy to connect to and host games. The only drawback being that once players are in a game two individuals are not able to control the same character. There can only be one thief, one wizard, and one knight. So, if only two players are in a game there is a lot of “Let me be the thief so I can get through this part” and “let me be the knight so I can fight these”. Still, Trine 2 is a great game for online play. There are plenty of puzzles that are made easier by the addition of another player rather than having to switch between the three characters alone.
Overall, my experience with Trine 2 has left me even more excited for the full release of the game this coming December. The addition of co-operative play also increased the replayability of the game by adding a little more variety to the gameplay. I am looking forward to spending more time with Amadeus, Zoya, and Pontius over the Christmas holiday.
Full disclosure: the author was provided with a free copy of the game for review purposes.