I began asking myself before stepping into the clichéd fantasy world of Trine 2 does familiarity really breed contempt?
If so Trine 2 could be a rough ride, blessed as it is with some of the most well travelled fantasy routes. The Wizard, Warrior and Thief are present and correct as are a multitude of Goblin foes to dispatch along the way, the way itself is a deja-vu inducing mix of deep, dank caverns, enchanted forests and ye olde villages. Oh and there’s a Princess to save.
Yet despite ticking almost every fantasy genre cliché box on the scroll, Trine 2 is anything but stale. In fact Trine 2 is a thing of wonder and beauty, a game that has the power to enchant the player with it’s sumptuous attention to detail and deeply atmospheric lighting while also challenging the grey cells with a number of beautifully balanced puzzles. Trine 2 serves up a heady mix of hack and slash, top notch platforming and puzzle’s devious enough to slow your progress but never to the point of exasperation.
As far as 2011 goes we’ve all been treated to some truly masterpiece-like arcade games. It’s been something of a vintage year for connoisseur’s of the arcades and with Trine 2, Atlus and Frozenbyte may have just iced the cake. As I mentioned the game follows a very basic storyline, three heroes called upon by the Trine to save the day. It’s not exactly a ground breaking tale, but it really doesn’t need to be.
What Trine 2 does magnificently is it allows the player to become lost very quickly within it’s world. A combination of gentle storytelling, breathtaking visuals, likeable characters, un-intrusive yet necessary music and fantastic gameplay come together like a dream.
The gameplay is a generally straight forward side scrolling affair with oodles of puzzling fun to tax the brain along the way. The three character choices all come equipped with their own unique abilities. The wizard has the power to levitate objects and summon blocks (massively more helpful than it sounds), the warrior is the brawn to the wizard’s brain, merrily ploughing through waves of enemies like it’s a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park, he also has the strength to clear the way via brute force and a swing of his hammer and finally the thief is the agile one, equipped with grappling hook and nimble enough to fly through the air like the circus trapeze.Each character is a lot of fun to use, granted you’ll probably spend most time in the wizard’s robes as his powers come in particularly handy on most sections but I honestly enjoyed each one equally which is a great achievement on behalf of the game’s creators.
Now to the looks, and wow!
Trine 2 is like the game a prime-time Disney kept under lock and key waiting for the moment to unleash it’s vast and varied charms upon the world.It’d be no understatement to say this is possibly the best looking arcade game yet. I sat in awe as the first scene of Trine 2 drew me in with it’s glorious attention to the power of light, colour and detail. We have a game here that will make passers-by stop in their tracks and stare, it’s truly beautiful.The visuals never scream at you either, there are no garish colours shouting for attention, in fact if anything the whole tone of the graphics gives a mellow and warming vibe to proceedings, almost as though they’ve come straight from the pages of a lovingly crafted fairytale.
As far as the gameplay goes everything seems to be in its right place. The controls are responsive and straightforward, switching between the 3 characters, which you will do frequently when playing alone, soon becomes second nature, as does using each individual’s abilities.The puzzles at times are certainly testing, on more than one occasion I was left wondering if I’d find the way forward but persistence and logic won the day and on I went.
Multiplayer comes via the inclusion of co-op play and as good as it is there are times during the play that you’ll probably wish for a change of the character you’re playing, other than that though the experience was lag-free and a heap of fun.
Overall Trine 2 is undoubtedly one of the best yet to land on the arcade. Newcomers don’t have to have played the original Trine to enjoy this second offering as it works as a stand alone adventure. As far as comparisons with the original go it seems everything here has been given an extra coat of gloss and showered with the developers love, the first Trine was great but Trine 2 is honestly something very very special. Buy it. Buy it now!