Review: Trine 2

If you haven’t already checked out our preview of Trine 2, click here, and I will try not to repeat myself.  Trine 2 is the follow up release to 2009’s dazzling puzzle platformer, Trine.  The game pits the player in control of a mage, a knight and an assassin, brought together by a mystical artifact and thrust into combining their strengths in the hopes of saving a kingdom.  Wouldn’t you know it, trouble seems to have found a way to return, and the Trine once again calls it’s chosen warriors to save the day.  Does Trine 2 measure up to the success of it’s breakout hit first iteration?  Or will it just leave you puzzled?

The Story

Being once again summoned by the Trine, Zoya, Pontius and Amadeus find themselves in the company of Crown Princess Rosabel.  Her kingdom is overrun with goblins, and she bids the Trine trio aid her in cleansing the land of said monsters.  As the trio descends down the rabbit hole, the plot seems to thicken and pieces of the puzzle revealed only beg more questions.

The Gameplay

The game is absolutely, jaw-dropping gorgeous.  The graphics are the first thing that will grab you about the game, not the mechanics, not the characters, not the story, but the awe-inspiring detail of the game’s visuals.  The color palette, the variety of locations, the foreground portions, the lighting effects, the nuggets and easter eggs that can be found in the background, it all surpasses anything I’ve seen in a game of this genre.  Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the gameplay is a fantastic mix of physics puzzles-each with different solutions, and obvious, alternate co-op solutions.  You will use the unique abilities of the mage, assassin and knight to solve puzzles, and collect bottles, upgrading there abilities.  You have the freedom to respec those skill points at any time, at no cost, and it’s a must for solving all of the game’s puzzles.  Many times it’s easier to spot a co-op solution, but the level of challenge is both frustrating and inspiring.  The game frustrates you with a new problem and gives you the satisfaction of brilliance when you craft the solution.  The levels are widely varied, in setting, and the puzzles are a good mix of new and old.  I learned to dread walking into an area with a level, knowing there would be an obnoxious timed puzzle nearby.  Most of the puzzles have more than one solution, many times more than one character can be used to solve the puzzle, but the most amazing part of the game is the co-op.  Being able to tackle the puzzles with a living partner takes the Trine franchise to new heights.  Even though going back to find all of the hidden potions and bonus items in single player is a great incentive to replay the game, doing it with a co-op partner makes it all the more worthwhile.

The Verdict

I know that I have done nothing but sing Trine’s praises until this point, so let me shed a little light on what I didn’t like.  For me, the game can definitely hit that “Not again!” frustration button a little too often, causing me to have to put it down and switch to something else.  There were mechanics and perks that I felt were poorly introduced-giving me freedom is great, throwing mechanics in and leaving me to the wolves to figure them out is less desirable.  One mechanic that irked me was the seeming need to reset all the skill points for your characters, simply to solve a puzzle and move to the next room.  Again, I enjoy having that freedom, but Trine 2 dipped a little too frequently into that well.  The endgame exemplified all of these complaints personified, I found myself stuck very often and having to resort to some online aid.  There seemed to be a loss of pacing and progression at the game’s later levels, in exchange for chaining together frustrating puzzles a bit too closely for my liking.  The combat can be a bit clunky and the boss battles can be hit or miss, as they ranged from genius to tedious.  Knowing that the game is challenging and requires more attention can be a bit of a barrier for entry, making it one of those games you really need to be “in the mood” to pick up and play.  I certainly enjoy a challenge, and Trine 2 delivered on that, though I wonder if it delivered just a bit too well.  There were definitely times in the endgame, where I would probably have left the game unplayed, had I not been reviewing it.  Still, the game is fantastic, the presentation is top notch and the co-op just elevates it to further greatness.  The graphics and the lengths that Frozenbyte will go to and make those “ah-HA!” moments so well presented is unparalleled.  Trine 2 is a wonderful and visually stunning experience that should not be missed by anyone.  Hats off to Frozenbyte for making such a graphically stunning game with such fantastic puzzles in whimsical locations.

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