PSN Review – Trine 2

The original Trine was one of the best downloadable games of 2009. Featuring head-scratching puzzles, entertaining platforming and fun fights, it was clear from the start that developer Frozenbyte had a hit on their hands. Its sequel was released just before the Christmas holiday (for North America, anyway), which is of course the perfect time to slay goblins and dragons. Can the Trine strike twice? We’ll find out in our review.

The game begins sometime after the events of the first Trine, and we join our three heroes as they are adjusting back to their normal lives. No heroes could stay out of action for long, and before we know it, Amadeus the wizard, Zoya, a thief and Pontius the knight are called back for another glorious adventure.

Fans of the original Trine will feel right at home here, since the controls have not changed at all. One big difference lies in the complete absence of the energy bar, which means that you can lift objects as the wizard as long as you want, which has its advantages and drawbacks, especially in multiplayer. The platforming remains the same in Trine 2 as well, which is to say it still requires an exacting jumping method. Miss your jump by a few inches and you won’t make a clearing, and your character will be sent plunging towards the ground or worse. But you will probably learn the game’s jumping mechanics quickly, and adapt to its quirks.

This is one of the best-looking downloadable games money can buy. The environment oozes with fantasy, and Trine 2‘s gigantic enemies such as snails and dragons wouldn’t look out of place in a fairytale book. The frame rate maintains stable throughout the adventure, even when playing with the maximum of three human players, which is arguably one of the the most fun ways to experience Trine 2 (more on that later). There are all sorts of fitting magical effects when firing weapons, when enemies attack, and whenever the environment is being interacted with. If you want to show off great fantasy graphics to a friend, this is the game to do it with. Audio is also fitting here, with a light fantasy touch on the soundtrack and sound effects.

Trine 2 just begs to be played with more than one player. With three main characters who often have to work together to tackle the forest’s puzzles, the game can get formidably challenging when playing alone. Add even one additional person, and the game becomes incredibly easy, to a fault in fact. Most challenges can be overcome using the wizard to conjure up a box, position another player on said box, and move the box with the wizard again to get up a cliff or over a gap. Since there is no more energy bar to stop you from constantly moving objects in this game, it feels a bit like cheating but at least speeds up progress.

Speaking of progress, Trine 2 does not try to impede yours. If you’re at a particularly brain-scratching puzzle and cannot solve it with one or two characters, you can “respec” the experience points you have earned so far to obtain new abilities on the fly. For example, some of the wizard’s higher-level powers include creating floating platforms, but it takes quite a few experience points to get there. Simply take some points from the knight or thief, re-apply them to the wizard, and carry on your merry way. The game doesn’t really explain this, and you have to figure it out on your own. While some people may not like this crutch, I enjoy the trial by experimentation route of discovering new solutions.

Fans of the first Trine should pick this game up without hesitation. It gives you more of the wonderful mix of platforming and puzzles that make you feel clever once you solve them. Trine 2 becomes incredibly easy when working with two or more people, however the game is so fun when playing in multiplayer that you don’t really care about the wizard being able to bypass puzzles completely. The story is an enjoyable light affair, and you could not ask for a better looking game, disc-based or not. It’s not a huge step up from the first game, but rather just more of the same great fun.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+ Wonderfully crafted world. The small details draw you in.

+ Co-op is now online, which works seamlessly.

– Puzzles can become laughably easy with unlimited energy. Some aspects of the game are not explained.

8 out of 10