Presented with a glimmering kind of fluorescence unique in both its vibrant intensity and application, Trine 2 is certainly a sight to behold. Its dazzling use of color is applied with painterly broad strokes, highlighting a lovely fairytale adventure that gets a lot of mileage out of some age old tropes. The general conceit is that a group of fairytale stand-ins – a valiant knight, a stealthy lady thief, and a wizard – must band together when united by the forces of the Trine and must physics their way through a fantasy story as vaguely archetypal as the characters themselves.
The central focus of Trine 2 is in providing a cooperative, predominantly physics-based experience. At its best, the character skillsets benefit one another. The wizard might draw out a box and levitate the knight up to some out-of-reach area where he’ll bring down a wall that impedes the group’s progress. Perhaps the wizard might syphon streams of water through tugging at the various plant life, redirecting the stream towards the knight where it can then be deflected from his shield onto more fertile soil. Each character has their own purpose and can make quick work of most obstacles with a little teamwork. The characters haven’t changed a whole lot since the original and that’s all right – they work well and allow for developer Frozenbyte to continue expounding on what stood as a sound enough formula without deviating from what defined it.
There are some minor new twists – such as portal puzzles – but the formula generally remains unchanged and is successfully executed in all the same ways. Level designs are such that players can opt for an entirely single-player experience where they can auto-swap to other roles. It follows closely in structure to The Lost Vikings with fewer tragic beards and less masculinity. There were only a couple instances where single-player seemed preferable, when certain parts of the adventure refused to trigger with a full party.
What’s most detrimental to the Trine experience, however, is playing with a controller. Conjuring up spells with a magician or engaging with certain puzzles is a wonky affair with a controller and the general feeling is that it’s still an experience designed around a keyboard and mouse interface. The frame rate is also less consistent and comes in lower than its PC counterpart. If consoles are your only option, it’s all workable, but not at all preferable.
These minor faults are easy enough to overlook. This is an absolutely majestic looking game, enriched with a full range of expert lighting techniques and the lovely use of a fantasy aesthetic to match. Meeting it halfway is an up-tempo, generally serviceable soundtrack that fills out the rest of the atmosphere in a nice way. All that color can almost be overwhelming sometimes. It’s a real shock comparative to the typical browns and grays plaguing so many headlining big name titles. It’s a truly indulgent visual experience; fans of color rejoice.
Trine 2’s a fun physics-driven platformer worth playing both for its involving co-op and vivid use of color. It doesn’t present any hugely substantial leaps forward beyond the original formula but if you’re looking for more Trine and have a group of friends looking to join in, it’s sure to provide a more than sufficient experience.