The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
It’s always gratifying to see a good game make the changes it needs
to become great in a sequel. That’s the happy scenario with Trine 2, one
of this year’s most beautiful, rewarding, and downright fun
downloadable titles. With online or local cooperative play, slick puzzle
design, and a whimsical fairy tale tone, Trine 2 is a year-ending treat
you shouldn’t miss.
Like its predecessor, Trine 2 stars three
fantasy archetypes as they platform and puzzle their way through a lush
fantasy storybook. The knight, wizard, and thief are called upon to save
the kingdom once again, and the lighthearted banter between the
characters keeps the otherwise clichéd story rolling. The game’s
greatest strength lies in the distinct abilities of each of the
characters. The simple-minded knight’s sword waving fends off the most
dangerous monsters, while his hammer smashes walls. The clever thief’s
grappling hook sends her hurtling up to hard to reach places, while her
bow hits distant spear-throwers. The cowardly wizard conjures new
platforms and boxes out of thin air, or levitates nasty goblins out of
With such varied movesets, Trine 2’s central gameplay
conceit concerns figuring out when to use which abilities to solve a
puzzle. Often, there are multiple answers to the question, most of which
reward creative thinking and cooperation. Perhaps you can reach that
high platform with a well-timed grapple? Or maybe the wizard can just
create a pile of boxes to reach the elusive ledge?
is clever, but stops short of frustration. The most elusive puzzles are
reserved for optional pick-ups that can be bypassed in favor of a faster
pace. Combat is infrequent and borders on being overly simplistic, but
as brief exclamations in the midst of a longer puzzle level, the battles
fit the bill.
Though the levels are identical in single- and
multiplayer, the game experience is drastically different, and well
worth a playthrough both ways. The pace is slower and the challenge
higher in single-player, where every puzzle must be solved with only a
single character onscreen (a button press cycles between your options).
Two or three-person cooperative play makes it easier to fudge your way
through difficult puzzles, but the fun of juggling all three characters
more than makes up for the loss. The physics-based interactions and
appropriately floaty jumping add some big laughs as you and your buddies
stumble ahead. Multiplayer can rapidly devolve into a comedy of errors
filled with misplaced boxes and tumbling boulders, but it only adds to
the fun, especially since a checkpoint is always near at hand.
Trine 2 shoots for humor and storybook simplicity in its storytelling,
there’s nothing funny about the breathtaking visuals. Trine 2 embraces
pure fantasy, filling the world with oversized snails, phosphorescent
mushrooms, and lush, luminous forests. From spider-filled caves to
wave-wracked beaches, the wide variety of environments keeps the levels
from fading to background visual noise. Onscreen characters hit the
sweet spot between realism and cartoon exaggeration, so both fights and
level navigation play out as dynamic thrill rides.
By adding in
well-implemented online cooperative options to join the equally viable
local multiplayer, Frozenbyte gives players the feature most requested
after the original game’s release, and every other element of the
franchise moves forward in meaningful ways. Coming as it does at the
tail end of a roaring holiday game season, Trine 2 is the dessert you
deserve to close out your year of gaming, or a great appetizer to set
the stage for next year.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.