Trine 2 Hands-On Preview -- A Gorgeous Return to Fantastical FormBy Chris Monfette - Posted Mar 21, 2011
As visually charming platformers go, Trine might not have redefined the genre, but it offered a fair amount of smile inducing style and brain-teasing, puzzle-oriented action. Trine 2 seems poised to do the same, taking a distinctly if-it-ain’t-broke approach while upping the artistic tempo. The folks from Atlus recently dropped by the office to give us a sneak peek at the sequel, and we’re happy to say that the follow-up looks suitably impressive.
The word that comes immediately to mind is “storybook.” The world of Trine looks and feels like a beautifully illustrated storybook adventure, and from the dynamic color palate to the stunning lighting effects, this side-scroller is currently one of the most visually impressive titles we’ve seen so far this year. This style is readily displayed in three short tutorial levels that reintroduce the characters of Zoya the Thief (in a Fable-esque village at twilight) Pontius the Knight (in a sun-swept patch of vine-infested farmland) and Amadeus the Wizard (in a magical, mushroom-filled forest).
The old rules still apply as each character retains their individual talents and abilities. Zoya can grapple between ledges, reaching impassible heights, and wields a bow-and-arrow, which can be aimed with the right analog stick. Pontius can wield either a sword for fast-paced combat or a heavier hammer for slower hits and environmental destruction. And Amadeus remains the ultimate support character, conjuring items like platforms and weighted boxes to help navigate the twisted geography and solve the landscape’s various puzzles. And, thankfully, he has unlimited mana this time to support his continued conjuring.
Ostensibly, Trine 2 maintains the same combination of combat and puzzle-solving, but has now more fully integrated the puzzles with their surrounding environment. For instance, one situation required the three characters–between whom a single player can switch freely when not playing three-player online co-op–to enter a cave blocked by the husk of a giant snail. Manipulating a series of hanging logs to channel the flow of a nearby water source transforms a particular bud into an edible plant that awakens the snail and draws it away. Or when battling a giant snake coiled inside said cave, destroying the supporting pillars proves necessary to bring the stone archways down on its head.
The game will feature an upgrade system that had yet to be implemented in the levels we played but that will be fueled by the collection of experience orbs throughout each stage. As you can imagine, these will often be hard to reach and require some intricate teamwork to attain.
Overall, at least from what we've seen so far, there’s nothing drastically new in Trine 2, but that’s actually the point. Atlus hasn’t over-salted the dish. They’ve made the gameplay smoother, tightened the experience, and enhanced the visuals for the greatest possible end result. While we only got our hands on the sequel for this painfully brief demo, we’re already excited to journey through the realms of the full game and see what more awaits us…Like turning through the pages of classic fairy-tale storybook...