by Marko Susimetsä
reviewed on PC
More of everything
In 2009, the Finnish FrozenByte developed the original Trine. The enchanting fantasy world, eccentric trio of heroes and light puzzles combined with great gameplay made the game very popular amongst casual and hardcore gamers alike. This Christmas, FrozenByte decided to make the wait for the Holidays more tolerable for us all by releasing Trine 2. It is more fantastic than ever, the puzzles are far more varied and the gameplay is as fun, if not better than ever. In the following, I’ll attempt the impossible and try to describe in words how wonderful this game truly is.
Familiar trio of heroes
Trine 2 sees the return of the lovable trio that we got to know in the original. Since the events that led to them discovering the lost Trine, Amadeus the Wizard, Pontius the Knight and Zoya the Thief have settled in their regular everyday lives; Amadeus raising a family, Pontius protecting villages and Zoya, well, she’s... exploring. In the beginning of the storyline in the sequel, the three heroes are called back by the Trine to venture on a quest to save the realm once again. While the mission statement is relatively unclear, the trio does not really have any other choice than to accept. On the way, they will encounter giant snakes, trolls, goblins, talkative flowers and a witch who seems to be behind it all.
In single-player, you will control the characters one at a time, switching between them by pressing the numeric keys 1, 2 or 3 on the keyboard. Since all three characters have their individual strengths and weaknesses, you usually end up switching between them to solve different kinds of physics-based puzzles involving air, fire, water, gravity and magic. In multiplayer, however, all three characters can be on-screen at the same time, working together to solve puzzles and to find new solutions to them. This cooperation goes to a level where Pontius can hold up his shield, allowing one of the other characters to jump on it to reach greater heights.
With the original Trine being praised for its art design and music, was there any way that FrozenByte could improve those aspects for the sequel? The fact that the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ was clear when we saw the first trailers and screenshots. But what many still feared was that the actual gameplay would suffer as all the pretty flowers, light effects etc. would make the important things more difficult to see. Luckily, these fears were unjustified. The world looks absolutely stunning with beautiful light effects, brilliant colour-use and living environment. The music score is as great as ever, with the composer Ari Pulkkinen returning to duty. His music works fantastically well together with all the other design aspects, creating a truly unique atmospheric experience. And, at no point at all, does your computer utter a single hiccup (at least if it meets the relatively decent hardware requirements).
And all this beauty does not detract from the main gameplay elements at all. The puzzles are still delightful, allowing for perhaps more solutions than they did in the original. This is a good thing since it means that you can solve them with different characters in different ways and many of the solutions will be very much your own, as there is no single ‘right way’ to solve them. This variety of challenge allows for great replayability.
The puzzles are also much more varied, as many of them now include the use air pipes, floating bubbles, burning gas, magical water, bouncy pumpkins and other new gameplay elements that fit very well into the enchanted game world. Some of the most difficult puzzles are optional as they lead to collectibles and experience points. Thus, if you cannot solve a particular puzzle on your first play-through, you can continue the game and come back later to replay the level when your characters have learned new skills and spells that might be helpful in solving the puzzle.
Wonderful graphics and music, enchanting story and characters, fine and smooth gameplay, low price
Short length, too few close-ups of Zoya