Puzzles, platforming and good ol’ fashioned combat in a side-scrolling fantasy adventure – is there anything that they didn’t squeeze in?
Frozenbyte’s original Trine was a bit of a hit on the PS3 and PC, combining fantasy adventure with physics-based puzzle solving into something that was a bit different from everything that came before. Well, that uniqueness returns in Trine 2, and this time it has made an appearance on the Xbox360.
The game itself has not really changed much at all. The player gets to take control of three characters, swapping between them at will, each with their own purpose within the game, and fights monsters, solves puzzles and save the fantasy world once again. Frozenbyte have obviously held fast to the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but that’s not to say that they haven’t given the game a little bit of polish – just to make it extra shiny.
And that polish is evident throughout all aspects of the game, but perhaps none more so than the way it looks. I would not be lying to say that Trine 2 is one of the best looking games of 2011. That is not to say that the original Trine wasn’t easy on the eyes, it was really nice to look at. But Trine 2 takes the biscuit on the visual front, with a glorious palette of colours rarely seen within the fantasy genre, and incredible lighting effects that almost seem too good for a side-scrolling game. Trine 2 is a joy to look at and provides an incredibly memorable setting that invites the player to invest their time.
But once the player has gotten over the awe-inspiring visuals, it is time to get down to some serious gameplay, and again this doesn’t disappoint. The actual story is fairly generic, as are the characters which inhabit this fantasy world, but it is how you use the characters and the choices that you make that really make the game shine.
As previously mentioned, the player is in control of three characters, each with a different use within the game. The wizard, Amadeus, is primarily used for solving puzzles with his ability to manipulate things around him and create new objects. The thief, Zoya, provides ranged attacks and uses her nimbleness for platforming sections. Then there is Pontius the Knight whose primary use is in combat or breaking things.
The players job is to progress through each of the well-designed levels by switching between the three characters and using their different abilities to overcome obstacles. Whilst the puzzles and obstacles may all stay the same, how the player actually progresses is entirely up to them. The physics puzzles especially give the player the chance to flex their creative muscles in how they solve them, but the player can essentially use any method they choose, or can think of, to progress. This gives what is basically a very linear game a sense of openness that is rarely found.
Whilst there have been plenty of little tweaks to the gameplay, and some new types of puzzles, the most important addition in Trine 2 is that of online co-op. The local co-op returns aswell, but being able to team up with a couple of buddies across XBL enhances the experience and is damn good fun.
There is certainly no denying that Trine 2 is an accomplished and entertaining game, but there is a fly in the ointment. The original Trine, and indeed the sequel, are more at home on the PC, and as such the controls on console can be a little fiddly, especially when it comes to Amadeus’ spell casting. Trine 2 is designed to work best with the mouse and keyboard.
But even this minor hiccup does nothing to tarnish what is an incredible experience on the Xbox360. With amazing and unique visuals, and a combination of gameplay types that will appeal to the vast majority of gamers, Trine 2 has to be highly recommended as an essential purchase over XBL.