Frozenbyte gained some momentum with the release of Trine in 2009; a physics based puzzler that relied on a trio of charismatic heroes to run, jump and complete their quest against all odds. Now the small, yet talented team at the indie studio have unleashed Trine 2 upon the world, a more mature and finely tuned adventure that is certain to turn some heads on any given platform.
What Trine 2 Got Right
Amazing visuals - Trine 2 looks simply amazing. Cranked up to the highest graphical settings, the subtle shadows against the filtering sunlight is a true testament not only to Frozenbyte, but the quality of indie game development in general. The environments have been lovingly crafted to perfection, creating a rich and vibrant world for the player to explore. The enemies all spring to life with fluid animations, and lifelike actions, and the characters that the players control are highly detailed and loveable. Even on mild settings, Trine 2 won't fail to impress any gamer.
Charismatic characters - Trine 2 allows players to control three characters; Amadeus the wizard can use his magic to grab hold of items in the game world, and conjure up boxes and planks to solve puzzles. Zoya is a thief who can attack her opponents with arrows, and use her grappling hook to clamber up certain surfaces. Lastly there is Pontius; a jolly knight who is adept in combat against foes, can bash apart walls, and deflect projectiles with his shield. All three of the characters are simply oozing with charm, their skills and personalities will play a big part in creating a memorable experience for the player. As a result, Trine 2 doesn't feel like "just another puzzle platformer", it feels like a living an breathing entity that will stick with you long after the final levels.
Terrific multiplayer - Trine 2 brings us cooperative multiplayer, allowing players to team up with one another and complete the entire main storyline. Classic mode allows each player to control one character for the entirety of the campaign, while Unlimited mode allows all three players to switch between character. Regardless of which mode you choose, playing Trine 2 with friends is a blast, and will surely be a favourite memory of 2011.
Simplicity is bliss - Trine 2 is simple, and sometimes simplicity is bliss. Utilising all three characters during your quest is a fun and satisfying experience, and while some puzzles will have you stumped for just a little while, the majority of the game can be figured out quite easily. That's not necessarily a bad thing - bringing gamers a simple yet memorable adventure works in the games favour, meaning that almost anyone can pick up a keyboard (or controller if you prefer) and grasp the mechanics with ease.
What Trine 2 Got Wrong
Explain yourself! - Trine 2 gives you a running hint/tutorial system along the way, but more often than not it leaves out a few things. Particular instances could have players scratching their heads long and hard before figuring out that a certain object belongs somewhere else, or that a box can be attached to a spike for instance. It doesn't break the experience, but if you're going to explain some of the mechanics, you really should be prepared to explain all of them through in-game tutorials.
Boss fights are lacking - Trine 2 delivers sublime platforming, puzzle action for the most part. That's why the boss fights seems to be truly lacking when compared to the rest of the adventure. There is nothing clever about them - hit the boss in their weak spots until they die, rinse and repeat. It's a real shame, considering that the rest of the adventure will have gamers using their grey matter a little before finding the solution.
The Final Verdict
Trine 2 builds upon the formula that made the 2009 original so successful, creating a perfect sequel that delivers on all fronts. The introduction of cooperative multiplayer online is a huge bonus, one that will see Trine 2 to be among 2011's hottest releases. The fantastic visuals are a true testament to the quality of the indie scene in general, and we can't wait to see what Frozenbyte come up with next. If you own a PC, Mac, Xbox 360 or PS3 then you deserve to pick this up for yourself.
By Stephen Heller