Mac Publisher: Frozenbyte
System Requirements: Mac OS X v10.5.8 / v10.6.3 or later, Intel processor, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M / ATI Radeon 2400 or better graphics card, 1.5GB hard disk space, keyboard, dual button mouse with
Review Computer: 3.2GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, 4GB RAM, 512MB Radeon HD5670 graphics card
Network Feature: Cross-platform multiplayer
Processor Compatibility: Intel only
Price: $14.99 (Collector’s Edition: $24.99)
ESRB Rating: E 10+ (animated blood, fantasy violence)
Availability: Out now
Trine 2 isn’t just a fantasy game, it’s the game that characters in fantasy games play when they’re not saving the world and finding out who they really are. Trine 2’s settings are so gloriously awash in color and light, its action so aggressive and its puzzles so clever, that it would make good-hearted mercenaries and alchemy wizards regret having to shut it off to return the doldrums of their jobs.
In other words, I’m a fan of this series. I’m not generally one for side scrolling action games, nor of physics-based puzzlers, but every element of Trine 2 comes together to transcend the limitations of its genres(s).
In my Trine review, I gushed, pretty much, about that game’s visuals and combination of action, puzzles and platforming. The same applies to Trine 2, but with enhancements. The high definition visuals are better than ever, where it seems the developers poured over every dimly lit corner and every lush backdrop to make sure there’s something worth seeing. There were at least a dozen times when I had to pause the action in the game just to take in the scenery.
As with Trine, the action centers around our three heroes: Pontius the knight, Amadeus the thief, and Zoya the wizard. The knight is the brawler, the thief is an expert with arrows and a grappling hook, and the wizard can conjure boxes and make objects levitate. Although there are elements in the game where you may need one or another to progress, the real brilliance of Trine 2 is that most puzzles can be overcome by whatever hero you’re using. You can pick your favorite and pretty much solve things your own way using the environment around you.
The environment is important, as it hides various objects (treasures, upgrades, etc.) and makes them difficult to retrieve when you find them. The bulk of the game is spent trying to reach these, as they all make things easier down the road. However, if a particular bottle is proving too hard to reach, you can usually skip it and therefore not worry about hitting the wall of frustration.
Trine placed these heroes in a cursed existence of sharing a body, more or less, with the right person taking over for a particular puzzle or enemy. That was just a control gimmick that’s bypassed in Trine 2, likely due to the multiplayer aspect. You’re still swapping characters as needed in the single player component, but without the pretense of the curse. In multiplayer, however, you can work with another player (multiplatform online or local) to complete the game cooperatively, which is a lot of fun…provided you’re playing with another gamer (or gamers, as up to three people can play simultaneously) who complements your style well. Otherwise, you’ll take turns barking orders at each other and yelling back and forth when one of you doesn’t secure the wizard’s box on the right area of the spiked ceiling.
Another great new feature is that you can save the game anywhere without losing progress from a previous checkpoint. I’ve grown accustomed to this with all the iOS games I play, so the need for save points in computer and console games has become extremely annoying. I’m happy to see Frozenbyte do the right thing here.
And a final mention should be given to the game’s soundtrack from Ari Pulkkinen, which is better than many I’ve heard from the high end development companies. The voice acting’s pretty good, too, although not used very often.
Trine 2, then, as a sequel to one of my favorite games from last year, exceeded my expectations. I’m thrilled Frozenbyte continues to support the Mac, and I hope a lot of Mac gamers support them. It would be especially cool if they’re able to bring the Trine series to the iPad, as it’s basic controls would translate pretty well, and it would look stunning on the iPad 3’s (rumored) Retina Display.
But until then, pick up the Mac version. If you’ve got an iMac or Cinema Display, you’ll think you’re playing a painting on the wall.
Buy Trine 2