by Marko Susimetsä
previewed on PC
Return of the beautiful
The original Trine, developed by the Finnish FrozenByte, was published by Nobilis in 2009. Combining an enchanting fantasy world, peculiar and fun trio of heroes and light brain teasers in the form of puzzles, it managed to cater to both casual and ‘serious’ gamers and thus quickly gathered a horde of fans. Now, Trine 2 attempts to repeat, if not even top, the earlier success. We at Hooked Gamers had a chance to try our hand at the Trine 2 beta to see what there is to look forward to.
Champions of Trine
In the first Trine, three unlikely heroes were chosen to hunt after a lost mysterious artefact known as Trine. This sent them on a journey through various places in their world from villages to castles and enchanted forests. Not only were they faces with seemingly insurmountable obstacles which they had to cross with the help of a limited set of tools at their disposal, but also by hordes of bats and skeleton swordsmen and archers and other enemies that they had to defeat in order to continue their quest. And, along the way, they could also try to find magic items and experience potions to enhance their abilities, health potions and hidden areas.
The three heroes included Amadeus the Wizard, Pontius the Knight and Zoya the Thief. The Wizard struggled with trying to learn the Fireball spell, but even lacking that, he helped the group along by conjuring up boxes, planks and floating platforms. The Knight was the muscle, wielding both sword and a hammer to slay enemies and break down stone walls. The Thief was the most agile of the three, using her grappling hook to swing over and around obstacles. In order to solve all the puzzles, you had to combine the abilities of these three heroes in various imaginative ways, some of which involved all of cunning, strength and dexterity.
In Trine 2, the three heroes are called back by the Trine to venture on a quest to save the realm once again. While Pontius and Zoya are eager and willing to have another adventure, Amadeus is less eager, worrying about his wife and three children back home (all of who know the Fireball spell). In single-player, you controlled the characters one at a time, using the number keys 1-3 to switch between characters.
Enhancing the enchanted
The first Trine was praised for its art design, music, gameplay and general fun-factor. The biggest question in the minds of all of those waiting for the sequel is therefore quite naturally: can the sequel offer anything new? On the basis of the beta – which offers the first two levels of Trine 2 – we can safely say that, yes, Trine 2 will enchant the gamers as thoroughly, if not even more so, as the first Trine did.
The first thing that you notice when you launch the sequel is that the art design is elevated to even greater heights: the world looks absolutely stunning with beautiful light effects, colour-use and living environment. The music score is as great as ever, with the composer Ari Pulkkinen returning to duty. And the puzzles… well, the puzzles are even more varied than they ever were. You can bounce on giant pumpkins to jump three times as high as you normally could, the Wizard can use telekinesis to move and manipulate plants and objects and you can float up on giant bubbles until they pop into extinction.
The only thing breaking the continuity from the original is the fact that the trio of heroes have lost the experience and abilities that they gathered in the first game. However, this is perfectly understandable as it allows for more possibilities for new challenges. Additionally, the skill trees have been revamped, meaning that you will not be using the exact same magic spells and multi-arrow bows etc. that you used in the first game.
One of the main changes from the original is the removal of mana bars. In Trine, the Wizard had a limited amount of mana for his spells, the Thief could fire only so many fire arrows and the Knight could use his powerful hammer blows only for a limited number of times. This forced you to go back to the previous checkpoint to recharge or wait for one of the magic items to slowly recharge the character that was carrying the said item. In Trine 2, you will not have to worry about this aspect, as the mana bars are completely removed, allowing you to try and experiment with spells and abilities to your heart’s content.
The beta did not allow us to try out the new feature of online multiplayer (there were no games running), but you will be able to host a game, or join a game hosted by someone else. Local multiplayer is still also around, allowing you to use multiple mice&keyboards, or controllers, to have up to three players taking control of the three heroes on-screen at the same time. Unfortunately, I could not try this feature either in the beta, but it will certainly be as entertaining as it ever was in the original.
Will it be worth the wait? Simply put: it certainly will. The beta already has me hungering for more and I cannot wait until December 7th when the full game will be released. The enchanting world of Trine is returning and it is better than ever!