Trine 2: Goblin Menace Review
The Good: More levels, more environments, more puzzles, more Trine!
The Bad: Many puzzles seem more fussy, death more common. Combat is less fluid, more keyboard mashing.
The Ugly: Some puzzles seem to require just flat out trial and error.
As a game reviewer, up until this moment, I have resisted quoting pieces of game press releases in my reviews. They exaggerate, twist the English language almost beyond recognition to cast the games in their best possible light, and sometimes flat out lie. In a refreshing change of pace, the press release for Goblin Menace is absolutely true, so I quote:
- Trine 2: Goblin Menace introduces six new skills to the Trine 2 game world and an all-new campaign, spanning six unique levels, further improving the award-winning visuals of the original Trine 2. All the new skills are also playable in the original game and provide additional fun in multiplayer for all Trine 2 players. The Goblin Menace campaign thrusts the heroic trio of Amadeus the Wizard, Pontius the Knight and Zoya the Thief into an adventure chock full of goblin villainy.
Improves the original game with six new abilities, including the time-slowing bubble, the kitesail shield, object magnetization and prison box!
All abilities also usable in the original Trine 2
A new adventure featuring the Heroes struggling against new goblin villainy
6 new levels chock-full of new puzzles, hazards, enemies and contraptions
New skills for each character with new possibilities for puzzle solving
Completely new environments ranging from burning desert to snowy mountains to the insides of a giant sand worm
Even more improved visuals and a completely new soundtrack
New enemies and bosses, including the lethal goblin war-machine
And, uh, my job is done, right? OK, not quite, but that certainly describes this expansion pack to Trine 2 in a nutshell. The Goblin Menace continues the adventures of the thief, wizard, and warrior who have been joined into one through a magic object called the Trine. You can change from one character to the other instantly, and use the combination of their skills to solve puzzles, which mostly involve climbing up, climbing down, swinging across, or otherwise traversing barriers. This iteration of Trine extends the adventure into the desert and inside the digestive tract of an enormous beast, and continues to show the amazing artwork of Trine, which is nothing short of stunning. The six levels, depending on your skill level, will give you maybe 3-5 hours of play, so it is a pretty brief affair.
If I have a complaint about this go round, and I do, it is that the puzzles seem harder, and I don’t mean harder in the sense of requiring more thought to get through them, but simply more death. As an example, in one of the more frustrating levels, you find yourself in total pitch darkness. There’s a hole in the floor ahead of you that you can’t see (I fell into that a couple of times), a couple of precision jumps that you also can’t see that you have to make to get across the hole (two or three deaths there), and a monster in the shadows right near the exit that ate me once or twice. There’s not a lot of brainy skill there, just flat out trial and error. There are also puzzles that seem to require the skills of one specific character to complete, and if you screw it up and kill that character off, you have no choice but to restart at the last checkpoint. In the previous Trine games the puzzles often had several ways to solve them – the warrior could bash his way through, the thief could use a grappling hook to advance, and the wizard could conjure boxes and planks to build a crossing. Others of the jumping puzzles just seem fussier, requiring a frustrating level of timing to succeed. There were several times when my inability to perfect some series of jumps led me to nearly quit, and it was only the game’s short length that had me finish it at all. Overall, the puzzles in Goblin Menace display much less finesse in their design than I have come to expect from the series.
The new enemies, including the aforementioned goblin war machines, are, as everything in Trine, beautifully drawn, but combat with them is a chaotic, somewhat frantic, button-mashing affair. The size of the playing regions is too small, and the goblin war machines too large, to allow you any other approach. The beasts are right on top of you, so your choice is wade in or die. When there are a number of enemies on the screen at one time and they’re hurling weapons and bombs everywhere, they’re just as likely to hit each other as you.
So, while I continue to like the Trine series and the unique game mechanics, and especially the artwork, this entry seems brief, a little rushed, and generally not up to the standard set by the previous games.
Reviewed By: Phil Soletsky
This review is based on a digital copy of Trine 2: Goblin Menace for the PC provided by Frozenbyte.