The Good: Clever physics-based platformer. Amazing graphics.
The Bad: You really need friends to play multiplayer.
The Ugly: Nuthin’
In all honesty this could really just be a copy of my review of Trine; you wouldn’t know any difference, just as I really didn’t notice much about Trine 2 different from Trine 1 (with the exception of a multiplayer mode, which I’ll get to later). Very little of the underlying game mechanics have changed. That’s not a bad thing. Trine remains an exceedingly clever platformer, chock full of nifty physics-based puzzles, and possessing stunningly beautiful graphics; graphics really far better than the graphics of a platformer have any business being.
The magically doohickey from the first game, the titular Trine, which welded together the souls of three characters is back, and it again gathers the thief, the wizard, and the warrior when a new threat overshadows the kingdom. As the player you can switch between the different characters at any moment, to solve the various puzzles you come up against. The three characters have distinctly different skills. The warrior wields a shield and sword, or a massive war hammer with which he can smash walls. The thief shoots a grappling hook and can swing like Spiderman, and is armed with a bow. The wizard has no offensive capability, but conjures different objects like boxes and planks (which in a pinch can be dropped on enemies, which is sort of offensive), and can telekinetically lift or pull on objects. If one character dies, you can continue with the surviving characters, the dead character reincarnated at the next checkpoint. Along the way you pick up these glowing ball thingys, and every fifty of them are converted into a skill point which can be used to upgrade the skill of one character, like buying a flaming arrow for the thief or a new item for the wizard to conjure.
As I read over my description, I must admit that the game sounds pretty dry. That’s my fault entirely, as the game is anything but. The physics engine is amazing. Heavy objects behave like they are appropriately heavy. The water flows and drops and puddles. The three character skills mix intriguingly, allowing you many approaches to choose when solving the puzzles. And the graphics are really nothing short of breathtaking. That’s coming from a guy who played Trine 1 and more or less knew what the graphics looked like going in, and still I had some wow moments.
The new multiplayer game mode is a good idea, allowing up to three people to play cooperatively. Though it would be possible to solve the puzzles working solo, the multiplayer component allows mixing of the various character skills simultaneously to create some zany moments. The largest problem I found is that, for the most part, finding random multiplayer games to join was difficult – the games were all full up. Trying to host my own would make me feel like a social gaming pariah. Twenty minutes could pass without anyone trying to join me. It appears that the majority of the people playing Trine 2 multiplayer are doing so with friends, and I think the only route to a certain multiplayer game is to bring your own.
I love the cleverness of this game, and I keep coming back to that word, clever, when I search around to find a single word that best describes Trine 2 (and Trine 1, for that matter). The multiplayer component makes a nice extension to the single player game (which will probably take the average player 5 or 6 hours to finish). On the whole, the creators of Trine took the safe route in crafting Trine 2. They strayed little from their original concept, resulting in a game that is equally as enjoyable as the first.