Trine 2 Review
Great visual design is matched with smooth platforming, combat and puzzles
Posted by Ben Thomas (nutcrackr) on Jan 7, 2012 - 7:30am EST (Jan 7, 2012 07:30)
Trine 2 is a visually impressive platformer developed by Frozenbyte. The original was released in 2009 and praised for its art design. Like the original, the sequel revolves around a device known as the Trine. This device binds three characters and takes them on an epic journey through a fantasy realm. The core gameplay is 2D platforming mixed with puzzles and the occasional war against hostile creatures. Throughout the game you will encounter goblins, spiders, portals and plants that grow before your eyes. The minimal story focuses on the tale of two sisters, one is mysteriously absent. The three characters must work together to find out what happened to her.
The synergy between the three characters is good with each having individual strengths. Strengths range from speed of movement, better combat skills or the ability to manipulate the world from afar. Assuming none of your trio has perished you can quickly switch to any of them with a single button. Zoya, a female thief, can disappear briefly or swing above dangers using her rope arrow. Pontius, a knight in shining armor, wields his sword and shield to cut foes down. Amadeus, a wizard, conjures boxes and can levitate foes as he pleases.
The three characters have upgrades that can be changed at any time. Zoya can shoot frost arrows that slow and eventually freeze enemies. Pontius can throw his hammer to knock down objects in the distance. Amadeus can conjure planks and lift goblins into the air before dropping them onto spikes. These upgrades are unlocked after collecting enough vials of experience hidden throughout the levels. When you are not jumping about or trying to move to the next area you’ll likely engage in combat
The combat has more variety in the sequel with different types of foes that navigate the world more effectively. Goblins are the main enemies but you’ll fight against trolls and spiders along with a few others. Difficult combat areas have special orbs close by. Passing over one of these orbs will restore all your characters to full health. Despite some tricky foes, the combat is easy and brief which ensures it doesn’t hinder the flow. Even puzzles are quick to solve with good variety.
The puzzles are sometimes designed to be completed one way. You may need to use the hammer to smash a bunch of loose rocks. Swinging through the air and latching onto wooden platforms is best tasked to Zoya with her rope arrow. Not to say there aren’t other ways to pass sections, you can stand on two boxes and use magic to float over crevasses if you’d prefer the easy way out. Portals even appear in Trine 2, transferring player and objects with their momentum. Fun puzzles involving water physics and steam pipes are new for the sequel.
Steam pipes can be removed and reconnected to alter the flow of steam in an area. Steam placed underneath cauldrons can produce bubbles or vile creatures depending on the brew cooking. It can also be injected into the murky swamp water to produce an endless supply of bubbles allowing safe passage to the ground above. Later, these pipes will be used to power devices as you connect several in a specific order. It is unfortunate that players cannot move around these pipes, a problem with the two dimensional platforming.
Water physics in Trine 2 can be used to grow plants in specific areas. You might use a shield or a plank to direct the flow of water. Hollowed out tree stumps can carry water short distances. The water is later replaced with deadly acid, which can be redirected in the same way. Walking over the acid is dangerous but Pontius has a shield capable of rejecting this toxic liquid. This water is a neat new tool to play with but it also looks great.