There is quite a bit that Trine has always done well, whether it's the complicated puzzles or way that levels are designed to keep perpetually interested. The faults of the first game had to do with combat and the short length of play with few replay options. The way they handled combat was by having a certain number of enemies come at you in specific areas. It wasn't the most enjoyable combat system because you had to wait for enemies to appear and they wouldn't stop coming until you defeated an exact amount. People didn't like it much due to the fact that you had to sit there and wait them out, which generally put a stop on whatever else you were doing.
Trine 2 takes those negatives from the first game and tries to improve them, which it does to some success. The main story is a bit longer than the first, lasting about seven hours on normal difficulty, and you can play through it again to find more experience and treasure, but there isn't any incentive other than that. The one big thing for replayability they did was adding three player co-operative multiplayer. MP allows you to play through the entire campaign which is quite a bit different experience, especially considering how you don't control anyone but one character now. Singleplayer on the other hand lets you switch between all three characters at any given time and it is hard to go from having full controls of all of their abilities to having just the abilities of one character, with that said multiplayer is pretty fun and especially so with some friends. Of course multiplayer can be a pain if you are playing with random people who don't communicate but like most MP it's enjoyment is based on the other players. Every MP game I've played has been pretty lag and problem free, likely a result of the long mp beta test they were doing over the last several months.
The story in the first game was pretty simple and enjoyable. With Trine 2 you can tell they tried to take the story up a notch by making it a little more complicated and interesting, but unfortunately it still is very predictable from the moment you find a single letter between the two princesses. One of the two driving points that keeps you going throughout the game is the will to level up your characters, which is done by finding experience that is placed throughout every level and dropped by enemies. They did leveling up pretty much the same way as the first game except now they rely on your abilities for everything, while the first game had secret items that you can find that complemented certain characters abilities. There still are secret chests but now they contain hidden poems that reveal more story and some pretty great looking artwork. As much as I appreciate the artwork or poems I greatly miss finding special items, they definitely made the first game feel more like a typical fantasy rpg mixed with a puzzle game. Speaking of hidden areas, they are easier to find this time around and the hardest thing to do is now collecting 100% of the experience per level, the opposite of my experience from the first game. Here is what one of my favorite hidden artworks looks like.
The second major driving point is the environments. With the increased graphical settings we also get gorgeous environments that are a pleasure to behold. They do it very well with every type of area as well. For instance I was equally entranced by the beach/water level that was filled with moving objects and tentacles arms, as I was with dark dungeons beneath the old castle that were running rampant with giant spiders and filled with acid/fire traps. The background of every level is equally impressive as the foreground graphics and they definitely capitalize on using their excellent lighting system to highlight the background. Take a look at this and tell me it's not gorgeous.
Almost everything about Trine 2 is an improvement upon the first game, but there are some aspects that are the same. The first game was a good game but it had quite a bit to do if it wanted to become excellent. Trine 2 gets closer to that goal with it's excellent graphical improvements, smooth leveling system, impressive physics, challenging puzzles, well done multiplayer, non-repetitive environments and good voice acting. There is a lot to like but underneath that all the easy boss fights coupled with the predictable story drag the game down slightly. Overall it is a great experience but not quite yet an excellent one, it certainly gives me a lot of hope for Trine 3 to be something spectacular. Needless to say this is a small title, with a low price, that is offers a fantastic package for its category. Last note, this review is for the PC version but it will be coming out on XBLA and PSN later this month.
Violent Score: 4 (out of 5)
-Highly recommended for any fans of the first game or fans of side scrolling puzzle adventure games. I even recommend it to almost anyone, especially for the price of $10. Thanks for reading and tune in for the contest winners later tonight. Thanks to Frozenbyte for providing a review copy. I leave you with this beautiful screenshot.
Main Website: http://trine2.com/site/
-Written by Sean Cargle