July 27th, 2012
Author: Ambrielle ‘KatanaMordecai’ Army
The recent Steam Summer Sale has rekindled the popularity of a number of games, with many players experiencing them for the first time. As a great opportunity to try out games you may have overlooked before at a greatly reduced price, let's take a look at just one of these examples: Trine 2.
Trine 1 was released in 2009 as a puzzle game and platformer. The game centered around a well-balanced mix of action and environmental obstacles. Players can overcome the obstacles by toggling between the three available characters: Zoya the thief, Amadeus the wizard, and Pontius the knight. Each character has different abilities such as grapples, conjuring, levitation, melee attacks, and more.
Trine 2, released in 2011, follows a very similar game structure. The game revisits its three main characters with a familiar style and environment. The beautifully-constructed levels appeal to lovers of fantasy games in particular, but the carefully-constructed puzzles cannot be overlooked by fans of any genre. Trine 2 works hard to keep each stage new and interesting, incorporating different ways to use the character skills to overcome its obstacles, a property that makes the game compelling to a certain point. The unfolding story also drives the player forward nearly as much as the needed strategy, though the lore surrounding the game does not differ substantially between Trine 1 and 2.
One of the most notable qualities of Trine 2 is its multiplayer feature. On single player, though each level has distinct variations, the consistency of the structure can quickly become stale. Lacking the ease of a one-sitting completion that validates other popular single player games, like Portal, the value of replayability diminishes over time. The multiplayer, however, has a delightfully casual, cooperative feel. Without time limits or very threatening repercussions for deaths, the game fosters a playful teamwork in which players can enjoy helping each other through each level, or hindering them for personal amusement.
Without the multiplayer option, Trine 2 would be a fairly middle of the road game that displays strong merit in its design, but perhaps lacks the ability to drive a player forward beyond a certain point. Its most redeeming quality is certainly the way it handles multiplayer mode, which allows two or three people to easily join up at any point without confusion. The resulting player cooperation produces the perfect balance of puzzle challenges and genuine casual team enjoyment that is often lost in co-op play.
Those who enjoy fantasy games will probably see the genre as a bonus, though I don't think it should deter any players who don't usually delve into that field. The cooperative play has a similar feeling to playing Magicka in a group, though it focuses more on the environmental puzzles than battle and action.
Overall, I would highly recommend this game to small groups of friends who enjoy casual platformers and puzzle games.