Posted: March 31
This is coming from someone who never played (or heard of) the first Trine and played with a friend on the Medium difficulty. I’ve played it a bit in single player before doing that, and I wasn’t terribly impressed with it.
Trine 2 is basically a playable fairytale; it’s not a very interesting story, but it’s set in a very charming and magical world. The playable cast are the traditional Mage-Warrior-Thief combo, but they each are quite charming in their own way (like the world of Trine itself). Amadeus (the Mage) can create boxes and planks, Pontius (the Warrior) is a great fighter and can use his shield to both fly and protect himself and his allies, and Zoya (the Thief) is, quite refreshingly, an archer with lots of nifty tricks up her sleeves. All three are rather stereotypical: Amadeus is a smart coward scared of his wife, Pontius is a gluttonous stereotypical hero more concerned with food and saving princesses and Zoya is a shifty, greedy woman. Sadly, they don’t seem to really interact all that much during the game except during moments where the player has little (if any) control. It’s a shame because the personalities clash so much that it makes for some fairly amusing dialogue.
I can happily say that while this game is a sequel to Trine, it never feels like you missed anything. Sure, there are some little references to it (as far as I can tell, at least), but it’s a standalone story in its own right. Sure, it’s nothing special to begin with, but it’s refreshing to play a little fairytale instead of this big complex story with multiple plot twists. It took my friend and I about 8 hours to finish the main game (I’ll edit this when we do the DLC) and it never was too hard, though I would recommend playing on Classic and not Unlimited, as that really does force you to work together and not independently. However, I would also highly recommend playing the game with two players instead of three or one for reasons I’ll delve into later.
This is mainly a puzzle game where you have to find a way to go from point A to point B with all the tools given to you, such as boxes, pipes, fire, portals and more. However, there are a TON of hidden little nooks and crannies scattered throughout the game, and since it’s mainly EXP (because yes, there is a levelling system), it’s actually rewarding in a concrete way. There are also hidden paintings, which are basically concept art, and hidden poems, which are foreshadowing the story. Not necessary, but certainly fun to hunt down.
Notice how I said this is mainly a puzzle game. There are little combat breaks in the game that seem to separate puzzles, which is a welcome addition. However, they lead to a problem within the mechanics of the game and they’re why I can’t recommend playing this with three players (on Classic). To properly explain, however, I have to address the levelling system. It’s quite simple: pick up 50 hidden doohickeys and you level up, gaining a skill point for your account that can be used for either Amadeus, Pontius or Zoya. Amadeus will be able to create more objects, Pontius mainly gains combat abilities and Zoya gains different kinds of arrows that can assist in both utility and combat. As a result, Amadeus will not be very useful during combat, while Pontius and Zoya will be very useful (especially Pontius). The problem here is not quite Amadeus: it’s Pontius.
See, the bulk of the game is puzzle-based, so Pontius can’t really do much but stand around and wait for the others to clear the way to the next battle. Furthermore, his special ability (breaking rocks and wood) becomes obsolete as soon as Zoya gains explosive arrows, which are much more flexible since a lot of the hidden EXP bottles are hidden up high. Therefore, the player stuck with Pontius (in a 3P Classic situation) would be mostly useless and Amadeus finds himself helpless during battle (he can help, but not as much as the others). As a result, I found that playing with two players, one dedicated to Amadeus and one dedicated to Zoya, led with the most satisfying game experience as we could switch to Pontius whenever needed instead of having deadweight with us. We didn’t even need to get Pontius’ skills until Zoya (for me) and Amadeus (for my friend) had all their skills unlocked.
While the game is very, very forgiving (except, I’m guessing, on Hardcore), having lots of checkpoints that fully heal every character as often as you wish, there are still some annoyances (provided you don’t mind how forgiving the game is, which I didn’t). This mainly comes with the few ‘boss’ battles that appear throughout the game. They always take the same form: a big goblin with a massive club. Furthermore, this goblin kills anyone in a single hit and takes a fair bit to kill compared to other enemies, which is quite annoying. Also, I can’t imagine fighting the last boss in single player, though it’s a great fight where, once again, Pontius isn’t very useful.
Visually, the game is actually pretty stunning, being very colorful. Lots of shadows and lighting make the game ‘pop’ and seem alive. You can clearly see everything on the screen even when it’s dark, which I feel is crucial in a puzzle game as the main challenge shouldn’t be finding the pieces, but figuring out how they fit into one another. The music is also very pretty, being very soothing most of the time and kicking up the tempo and intensity when needed. However, none of the songs really stick in your head, instead blending into an immersive soundscape.
The whole game, being a playable fairytale, has a delightful cartoony feel to it, from the character designs to the story to the sounds and visual design. While the shallow combat seems a little tacked on and only created to give Pontius a purpose, the combat scenes are so short that it shouldn’t be counted as a huge negative.
I would highly recommend this game for 2P coop players and cautiously recommend it for 3P coop players and single players, as I feel the former would leave one player bored (assuming they play on Classic, as Unlimited is simply too easy as far as I’m concerned) and the latter feels like it’s missing something. The game isn’t too hard either, making it perfect for both casual and hardcore players, though it does seem more casual. Nevertheless, it’s a nice little game that’s definitely worth your time.
Do note, however, that the trailer (quite sadly) shows more of the DLC than the game itself. I’ll edit this when my friend and I get through the DLC, but know that it’s like a sequel (or a part 2) to the game; Trine 2 itself has 13 chapters and the DLC adds 7, to give you an idea. Who knows, maybe my complaints are fixed in the DLC?