A thief who thinks only about profit. A knight dedicated to law and justice, as well as a constant supply of food. A wizard so lazy he hasn’t even mastered a basic fireball spell. A group of misfits to be sure, but combined together their talents make for a formidable group of heroes in developer Frozenbyte’s action puzzler Trine 2.
For those who didn’t play the original Trine back in 2009, the basic plot is simple. Three people – Amadeus the wizard, Zoya the thief and Pontius the knight – have had their souls bound together by a mysterious artifact called the Trine. Having cleansed the kingdom of an undead scourge, our heroes are once more called upon by the Trine to investigate bizarre and warped plant life, growing out of control and strangling the countryside.
The player controls one character at a time, but can instantly switch between characters at will. Each character has a unique set of abilities – the knight strikes enemies hard with his weapons and blocks attacks with his shield; the thief attacks from afar with a bow and can swing freely using a grapple; and the wizard conjures boxes and ramps for various uses, as well as moving objects with telekinetic powers.
Yet for all the available mechanics, Trine 2 never seems to move far outside of the realm of action. The puzzle elements of the game are simply too easy, and it’s quite rare that you’ll find yourself stumped for more than 20 or 30 seconds while trying to figure out the next step. The majority of puzzles involve getting from spot A to spot B, and are almost exclusively solved by using the wizard. For a game described as an action puzzler, I can’t help but feel Frozenbyte has missed an opportunity to challenge thinking players.
Trine 2 absolutely shines in the graphics department, both literally and metaphorically. It’s a big step up from its predecessor, and that’s saying something considering how beautiful the visuals in the original were. From the very beginning the player is bombarded with stunning and detailed scenery, complimented by some exceptional lighting effects. The attention to detail is impeccable, combining with extremely fluid animations to make an engaging world that’s incredibly easy on the eye. Visually, it’s impossible to fault.
I still found myself suffering from gaming fatigue after an hour or two though; not something I get from a lot of games. Whilst Frozenbyte have done a decent job of providing variety, after a while the gameplay does get repetitive. That each character is so clearly designed for a specific purpose doesn’t help, and you’ll find yourself switching between characters based solely on the situation the game throws at you, rather than to experiment with different solutions. Again, the game’s over-reliance on the wizard comes to mind, as Frozenbyte have made a point of limiting the number of surfaces Zoya’s grapple can attach to; get used to jumping on conjured boxes more than you’d like to.
Though I’m tempted to mark it down for its gameplay foibles, Trine 2 exudes a real charisma that makes it hard not to like. Frozenbyte’s work on the presentation is beyond reproach, and although essentially a violent action game, it has a positive approach to both the action and story that make it a good family-friendly title. Maybe it’s because the game is presented like an old-fashioned fairytale that it evokes some of the comforting times from childhood. The simple puzzles within the game can also be viewed in a positive light this way; neither kids nor casual gamers will become frustrated during progress.
Trine 2 is an enjoyable game with plenty of action and enough variety to keep players entertained throughout. As a casual game for those who are looking for some impressive eye-candy and constant action, it’s a solid title worth the purchase. Unlike many modern casual games, Trine 2 is a decent length as well so you’ll not be sent looking for a new game too quickly. Just keep in mind the title “action puzzler” is only half right.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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