When the original Trine released back in 2009, it took us on a fun yet flawed 2D physics-based puzzling quest, inspired by the cult favourite SNES classic, The Lost Vikings. Even with its faults, nothing stopped the game from rapidly growing a large fan base. With Trine 2, developer Frozenbyte has pulled out every bit of magic it possessed and created a stunningly beautiful sequel that not only pleases the fans, but makes sure it’s one they’ll never forget.
From the title screen that finds you standing upon a small wooden bridge beside a gently cresting lake at sundown overlooking a medieval castle off in the distance, the game’s striking visuals are instantly captivating. The breathtaking visuals and wonderful strings and wind orchestral arrangements warm the heart and soul, cheerfully inviting you to press Start and begin your magical journey into the wondrous fantasy world of Trine 2.
Our three heroes return once again: Amadeus, the elderly, not-so-great wizard; Pontious, the not-so-smart knight, and the graceful yet cunning thief Zoya. Each hero possesses their own unique skillset, and by quickly swapping between them (L and R buttons) and using these skills, you’ll find creative solutions for all sorts of intricate environmental physics puzzles, fight against giant bosses and goblins. Oh yes, there will be lots of goblins. Whether using Amadeus’ magic to fabricate boxes and planks out of thin air to cross chasms and climb hills, firing Zoya’s grappling hook to swing across voids or using Pontious’ shield and sword to take the battle into close range, each character is of equal importance. Together, it’s as if they essentially create one, because without each other’s help they could never complete their task that’s been laid before them.
What is this task we speak of? Well, the kingdom is under attack once again, of course, by the aforementioned goblins, and the Crown Princess Rosabel uses the trine to summon the three heroes to lend a hand in exterminating the beasts and finding out what’s causing the chaos. But, through a few scattered pieces of parchment and hidden poems you’ll find a separate tale of two sisters, and it’s here that the stories twist together. Needless to say, it’s a small tale in a big beautiful world and is nothing spectacular, but it does a good job of keeping things flowing and giving our three heroes things to spontaneously – oftentimes hilariously — chat about during their journey.
It’s not all fairy tales and wondrous visuals though. Trine 2 packs an extremely solid mixture of platform, puzzle and action that’s sure to test your skills as well as your wits. Playing directly into the storyline, magical waters are found flowing through the kingdom, and they’re the reason for the enlargement of many of the plant and animal species found throughout your journey. It’s not all visual gimmickry either, as the magical waters play a key role in many of the trickier puzzles in the game. These task you with using Amadeus’ magic to create and move any and everything to allow the magical streams to flow into an undernourished plant. When solved, the shrubbery instantly starts growing, and finds gorgeous leafy staircases or mushroom trampolines filling the screen, allowing progress to resume onwards.
While wits will get you through most of the journey, many platforming sections require precise timing. The nimble Zoya and her grappling hook can make short work of many of these tricky sections, but not all. No, upon trudging deeper, you’ll find you’ll need to make use of all the characters’ abilities to overcome these intricate but expertly designed levels. While not immediately apparent, there’s always an intelligent solution to each and every puzzle, but you’ll often need certain abilities to pass through a section: collecting vials scattered throughout the kingdom accrues experience points to do just this. This time around you can quickly reset you characters’ spent ability points if need be – assuring forward progression is possible — but you’ll still want to find as many vials as possible, as doing so will ensure that all three characters continually grow in strength, without the hassle of swapping stats repetitiously.
With a cast of three playable characters, wouldn’t it make sense that three players should be able to band together for the quest? Well you’re in luck then. Frozenbyte has not only brought back local co-op, but included online multiplayer as well. Three players can indeed join together for some high-swinging, goblin-slashing, brain-straining fun. While this does make the game’s difficulty a bit easier, it’s still great fun, lag free and a great addition to an already fantastic title.
When Frozenbyte started its journey to create Trine 2, it’s clear the studio decided to create the world it had always imagined. From the lush, beautiful visuals of the many exotic locales to the intricate puzzle designs, just like the waters that flow into this kingdom, the developer’s passion can be seen, felt and heard; it’s nothing short of magical. Stepping into the world of Trine 2 is much like stepping into one of the great Walt Disney’s fairy tales, and shouldn’t be missed.