Tryin' To Be A Lot Like Trine
If you haven't Trined before, you are looking at a platformer with lots of physics puzzles that require you to make use of the powers of three different characters, the brawny sword (and hammer) wielding Warrior, agile archer Thief, and the object-levitating, board-and-box-creating Wizard. You can only be one of them at any given moment, but you can also instantly switch between the roles at will, setting you up for some crafty puzzle solving that might require you to grapple to an area with the thief that can only be reached by building a tower with the wizard. Along the way, you'll be attacked by scores of bad guys who are best dispatched by the warrior.
It might seem that Trine 2 is relying on a bit of a one-trick pony to differentiate from the army of sidescrolling platformers out there, but that trick is something else. The puzzles can be fiendishly clever, to borrow an overused phrase, providing a strong sense of satisfaction when you at last puzzle out a way of getting further. Spend enough time stuck in an area and the game will gently provide you with the solution (think Uncharted) which helps prevent the frustrating grind of hopping around the same small area for 20 minutes because your brain locked up and you missed a lever (who hasn't been THERE?) and I appreciate that.
Once again co-op is back, both locally and the newly added online. You can choose whether or not to allow both players to be the same character, so having two wizards can really break the game fast. In fact, with his ability to summon up to 4 crates and planks, a single wizard combined with any second player can easily bypass almost every situation, but the lack of difficulty is replaced by a good sense of camaraderie and plenty of bickering when someone just doesn't quite get the plan.
I can't believe I've gone this far along in the review without mentioning the graphics. Trine 2 is certainly one of the best looking games on the PS3. The backgrounds just ooze so much quality and layering you'll find yourself mesmerized drinking in all the details. The colors are vibrant, the pixels on your TV appearing to struggle to contain them, as if they are about to burst and explode color all over your living room. Colored lighting is used to great effect, with half a dozen hues casting shadows across every corner of the screen. You really won't find anything quite like it out there now - other than the original Trine of course.
Frozenbyte also threw in a primitive upgrade system that tosses a thin veneer of RPG into the proceedings. Collect enough vials of experience while traversing the levels and you'll be rewarded with an upgrade point which can be spent on each of the heroes to unlock the ability to summon more objects, fire ice arrows, or toss hammers. None of it is required to beat the game, but many of the powers will provide you with alternate ways to progress.
Trine 2 is a good romp that doesn't stray too far from the blueprint of the first game. The addition of online co-op was just a fantastic move and fixes the most glaring weakness of the original. If you've got friends who are easily impressed by graphics, this is a great way to get them drooling. Good work again, Frozenbyte!