Trine 2 is the type of game that makes you do a double take and then stare. It’s literally that beautiful, not only in still image form but in motion. Further, it’s not just the detailed graphics and animations, it’s the quality of the sounds and the music. Trine 2 has yet to disappoint in its presentation on any platform, and the Wii U version is no exception to that.
The Wii U version uses about 1.9GB of space, but it’s space well used. Playing through Trine 2 by yourself, online, or locally with up to two other players is a fantastic, memorable physics-platforming adventure. The story centers around the adventures of three ‘friends’ — a budding wizard named Amadeus, a headstrong, noble knight named Pontius, and a slinky thief named Zoya. They all have identical jumping and running abilities, but it’s their special skills that set them apart, and the combination of those skills that makes this trine, or trio, something really special.
The goal in its most basic form is to move from screen to screen, left to right, solving environmental puzzles, and killing goblins. The action mechanics of the gameplay take a backseat to the adventuring and platforming, but they’re a vital part of the game nonetheless. What I found interesting is that solving puzzles — whether it’s how to traverse a pit of spikes or get passed a nasty dragon — is in many ways left up to you. I haven’t watched Youtube videos or read other people’s experiences to know, but it seems like there are multiple ways to solve at least some of the puzzles players encounter. I also liked that I wasn’t rushed to complete a puzzle, and the game in its normal difficulty mode is also very forgiving for mistakes. As long as you have one of the three alive, you can revive the other two if you can get to one of several visibly obvious points that are usually on either side of a hazardous environmental puzzle. In that way, the game keeps you playing rather than punishing creative attempts or general mishaps.
Playing Trine 2 on the Wii U Gamepad is a pleasant experience. It looks superb on the TV or on your Gamepad, but I found playing with just the Gamepad to a more immersive experience — it just gets you that much closer to one of the prettiest games I have ever seen. Controls are easy and work very well for the most part, using a combination of the buttons and touchscreen. To switch characters, you can either tap their icon in the upper left of the HUD or press L. Zoya’s bow and her grappling hook can be aimed with the touchscreen as well, although there are times when the player icons cover a point in the upper left corner of the screen that you want to tap. Using Amadeus’ levitation ability and swinging with Zoya’s grappling hook (with the left stick) can be awkward though. These events really only occur when either you pressed the touchscreen too early or either it or the game somehow didn’t register your actions. Additionally, activating some of the tap and hold or tap and slide levers can take a couple of tries sometimes. Overall though, playing the on the Gamepad is enjoyable.
Collecting upgrade flasks and the secretive poem and paintings go a long way in significantly extending your playtime. Trine 2 is not a short game, nor one that is easy to run through on your first playthrough. Furthermore, it’s such a well done game there is no reason to rush, so go on and spend some time trying to find those hidden areas. To access the Wii U exclusive level, you actually need to find the ten map pieces in the Goblin Menace expansion. Additionally, figuring out how to reach or knock-loose the numerous upgrade flasks you see is a challenge worthwhile. For every fifty of these you collect, you earn an additional skill point that can be spent to allow Amadeus to conjure two, three, and four simultaneous items, for example. Or you can give Zoya improved stealth, or Pontius the ability to use his shield to glide over dangerous areas. I appreciated the ability to reset the skill level tree as well if say you decided that you didn’t use a certain ability that much afterall. Indeed, I didn’t purchase a single upgrade until I had four or maybe five points to spend, simply because I didn’t yet need one and I was unsure what to pick.
Playing online works fine technically, but this is a very co-operative game that can be frustrating to play with anonymous people for obvious reasons. Plus, if another player’s connection drops off or they quit, your game is over as well. Fortunately, local play is supported and works better for making forward progress. While it’s really nice to see both modes included, I found myself wanting to explore the lands and puzzles of Trine 2 by myself. It’s definitely a game I could replay with a friend or two, but for a first time playthrough I would advise savoring this one for yourself.
To the summary…