Trine 2 review
Trine was one our favourite games of 2010; a beautifully designed platform puzzler set in a fantasy land of knights, thieves, wizards and walking skeletons. This sequel is very much in the same mould. The magical Trine crystal has summoned our heroes and once again bound them together into a single being to protect the realm. This handy bit of plotting explains why you can traverse the world, switching from one character to another as required by the challenges you face.
Zoya, the thief, is particularly skilful when it comes to acrobatic feats. She can jump higher and further than her lumbering companions, while her grappling hook allows her to spear distant wooden beams and platforms to pull them down or swing around the screen. She also gets ranged weaponry in the form of arrows. The bulk of the puzzle solving is down to Amadeus the wizard, who uses psychokinesis to move distant objects and conjure boxes and platforms to build routes around treacherous spikes and poison-spitting flowers. The muscle of the team is provided by Pontius the knight, who can hack his way through enemies with sword and shield and destroy obstacles with his hammer.
Most of the puzzles require a combination of careful thought and fast reflexes, although in some cases the speed requirement for getting across the screen feels a bit unfair - we were frequently foiled by lever-controlled bridges that rose too quickly for us to make it across the screen. If you can get used to using a joypad, this title definitely benefits from one. In general, though, if you manage to keep calm and resist the urge to throw your PC through the nearest window, even the hardest of precision jumping exercises can be vanquished, no matter what control system you use.
Trine 2 is very similar to the first game - why change a winning formula, after all? However, the distinctive graphics have been tweaked and the marvellous physics engine is put to even better use than before, with puzzles involving streams of water that can be redirected, columns of air upon which you can balance magically created platforms and giant trampoline-like mushrooms for extra-high bouncing. A skill tree has been introduced, allowing you to choose how you upgrade each character's weapons and abilities as you go along, increasing the number and types of items Amadeus can conjure and giving extra powers to initially prosaic weapons such as Pontius's hammer and Zoya's arrows.
The multiplayer mode is an underappreciated gem. Instead of controlling all three heroes yourself, you'll team up with one or two other players in an attempt to work your way through the game - or an individual level - co-operatively. There are loads options for doing so, including private games over the Steam network, games across your own local network and even a local game on a single PC using multiple controllers in addition to the keyboard and mouse.