Trine 2 Review
A wizard, a knight and a thief walk into a game studio and… well can you imagine Frozenbyte’s publishing pitch for Trine? The idea of three overcooked archetypes featuring in one of the oldest and overused genres of the video game industry is more apt to make publishers groan and fans roll their eyes, but then the footage rolls and immediately it has our attention.
Like its predecessor, Trine 2 begins selling itself as soon as you start playing. While you’re feeling your way around the skills and attributes of Amadeus the wizard, Pontius the knight and Zoya the thief, it’s beguiling you with the most beautifully detailed, two-dimensional environments we’ve ever seen.
Because each level is regularly punctuated with unique, hand-drawn features, the visuals never really become blasé, but by the time we’re zipping along and not paying as much attention to the art, we’ve already been sucked in.
Trine 2 has the same surprising depth of the original that belies a traditional platform game. Each of the three characters has a core skillset that complements the team.
The knight can engage in melee combat with a sword and shield or use his hammer to smash his way through certain objects. The thief can grapple and swing from certain surface as well as shoot arrows, while the wizard can conjour boxes out of thin air and levitate some objects, like crates and boulders.
You’ll need to think fast to take down this bad boy.
Those that haven’t played Trine will most likely take these skills at face value at first – what else can you expect from a platform game? But a combination of Havok Physics and a series of unique puzzles mean we’re soon exploring the many dimensions of each character.
There’s much more to Trine 2 than switching to the knight for a combat situation or the Wizard to shift a big boulder blocking our path. You can use Pontius to take on all five of those goblins in melee, or you can grapple out of their reach with Zoya and swing to safety. Or, better still, you can grapple to safety, switch to Amadeus and then lob that boulder at them for some easy experience points.
What Frozenbyte squeezes out of a linear, two dimensional platform game is impressive: the abilties each character begins with can be augmented or added to along individual skill trees, with skill points gained from a collective experience pool.
The Wizard can levitate monsters, the knight can add a frosty defence to his shield and the thief can move stealthily past baddies. Whether we focus on one character or explore the breadth of abilities across all three, we’re never going to find ourselves stuck in a situation where we need an advanced skill to progress.
There’s always another possible way or five, perhaps with another character. Vague criticism ahoy: there’s little that separates Trine from Trine 2. New environments and puzzles aside, there are a few new skills for each of the characters, but if you’d never seen either game you really couldn’t tell the difference.
However, it was such a pleasant experience the first time around, that’s really more of a comment than a poke at a game that we’d be very happy about if it was stuffed into our stocking this Christmas.