by Marko Susimetsä
reviewed on PC
Learning new tricks
Like the original, Trine 2 also allows you to gather experience points from various more or less well hidden and hard-to-reach locations and then use the experience to develop the skills and talents of your heroes. The wizard starts with the ability to conjure a single box, but with enough experience he will be able to create a total of three boxes or planks. The familiar floating platforms of the original are nowhere to be seen and have been replaced by the ability of floating enemy creatures. Since the floating platforms made most puzzles a breeze to solve in the end game of the original, their disappearance is not really such a loss. Likewise, the skills of Zoya the Thief have been changed slightly and she can now, when fully levelled, fire frost, fire and explosive arrows. In addition, she has a skill called Stealth Movement, which allows her to remain unobserved by enemies for ten seconds if she stays still, or five seconds if she moves. The ability is cancelled if she attacks or touches an enemy. The Knight’s tricks include Frost Shield, Fire Sword, Charge, Hammer Throw, Explosive Hammer etc. with relatively predictable effects.
Unlike in the original, Trine 2 allows the characters to play with their spells and abilities to their hearts’ content. Gone is the mana bar which limited the use of these abilities. You can now freely try out different tactics to solve various puzzles as you don’t have to constantly worry about running out of mana. In the same vein, the magic items, mana bonuses, strength increase etc. are gone. You will still find chests here and there on the levels, but these contain pieces of poetry and collectible paintings instead of magic items.
In addition to the traditional local multiplayer, Trine 2 allows you to host an online game, or join a game hosted by someone else. In local games, you can attach multiple keyboards and mice, or just additional gamepads to your computer and play with your friends in front of the same monitor. As this is rather a limiting option to most gamers out there, the addition of online multiplayer is very welcome indeed. The multiplayer changes the gameplay experience completely, even though you are still playing through the same story. Having more than a single character around at the same time, allows for new ways of solving puzzles and can, at the same time, even teach younger gamers something about the importance of cooperation.
Simply put, Trine 2 is the most beautiful game I’ve ever seen. The music, lush use of colours, animated backgrounds and dream-like enchanted forests and dungeons combine into an atmospheric experience that can never be forgotten. The only downsides that I can think of include the relatively short length of the campaign, but even this is counter-acted by the very decent price tag that the game comes with. Another might be the requirement of some controlling agility for many of the fancier moves with Zoya and her grappling hook, but you are not forced to use them, of course.
Whether you are an old gaming cynic, a hardcore or a casual gamer, I’d advise you to give Trine 2 a chance. You will be drawn into the game and find yourself chuckling with delight at every new environment that you encounter. This game might even cure you of cynicism.
Wonderful graphics and music, enchanting story and characters, fine and smooth gameplay, low price
Short length, too few close-ups of Zoya