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Review – Trine 2 (PC)

Frozenbyte | 12.07.2011

It feels uncommon for Indie games to get sequels.  It really probably isn’t but it just seems to be the case.  There could be a myriad of reasons behind this of course, return doesn’t work out to enough from the investment or even just the developer exhausted every angle they could push for a title in it’s fist outing.  Whatever the reason, Frozenbyte, the creators of Trine, didn’t follow that model and gave us a sequel.

Really, Trine deserves a sequel more than most indie games anyway.  The original game is extremely well done all around.  It did have some minor clipping issues in a few parts but overall the presentation is fantastic.

Trine 2, follows the mold set forth by it’s predecessor with essentially nothing but improvements.  You get the same basic gameplay, side scrolling platformer with character based puzzles to solve.  Trine gives you the same three heroes from the first game, The Knight, The Wizard, and the Thief, each with unique abilities and special traits.  The Knigt is useful for bashing things and combat, the Wizard can conjure blocks to use to stack and build platforms or even just use to bash enemies with, the Thief has her grapple line and bow for distant targets.

Trine 2 also carries over’s it’s predecessor’s rich well build levels and backgrounds.  It’s insane how much detailing has been poured into this world.  At the same time, it’s so well staged that you rarely get lost in as to what is happening in the background or foreground environments.  Despite being played in a 2D world, the environment flows in three dimensions.  Enemies and other critters often jump in from the fore and background.

Speaking of enemies, they are so much more improved this round.  One of my main complaints with Trine 1 was you pretty much just battled the exact same skeleton over and over.  Sometimes there were sword skeletons, sometimes archer skeletons, sometimes giant boss skeletons.  But they were all essentially the same.  The game had blown it’s design budget on environmental and forgotten to design more than one enemy.  Trine 2 introduces Orcs and Goblins and that sort of ilk, which gives a while new variety to the enemies encountered.  Even if half the time their actions amount the the same as those boring old skeletons, they at least look different, which is a huge plus.

The gameplay itself has also been nicely tweaked.  The needlessly limiting mana bar is gone now, you can create blocks and use skills all you want now.  The experience and skill system has been streamlined, giving less skills overall but removing some relatively needless extra steps.  You also no longer find items in chests, instead you collect little poems and artwork.  These don’t affect gameplay making missing a chest less painful later on.

What somewhat does hurt is that the game seems to have been simplified a bit too much making it possibly too easy.  The health restoring checkpoints are extremely frequent, often in the middle of the larger battle fields, making it nearly impossible to get killed.  Also there are experience vials everywhere.  It’s actually kind of frustrating when you feel compelled to try to get them all to upgrade your character’s skills but it ends up breaking the flow of the game.

On the subject of upgrades, though the upgrade tree has been simplified, the Wizard is still pretty much the only one worth updating to allow for more and more blocks to be built.

Despite some minor gripes, Trine 2 is still fantastic.  if you enjoyed the first game or even just platform titles in general there is no real excuse not to play through Trine 2, though I suppose starting on the first game would be better if you’re fresh to the series.

Trine 2 is available on Steam.

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