Once upon a time there were a thief, a wizard and a knight that lived in a fairytale land, where Good and Beauty ruled unrestricted. But not indefinitely, because fairytale lands are only entitled to everlasting peace after they go through difficult trials, posed by The Ultimate Evil… or at least one of its acolytes.
Despite their different professions and characters, the three were forced to learn the precious lesson of collaboration. This happened thanks to the Trine, a magical artifact that bound their souls into a single body, making them work together and putting their talents to use for solving puzzles and vanquishing goblins, giant spiders and anything else Evil threw in their righteous path.
But as we can never be sure that Evil has been completely cut from its roots, the Trine appears once again in the life of the heroes, because the magic land is again under threat, while its landscape presents itself as an endless stream of puzzles.
Trine and trine again
It’s clear that Frozenbyte are aware of the fairytale world they have created in the first Trine and the magic that it exudes. In a very inspired way, the magic begins even before the actual game, when you are allowed to control the three in the main menu’s screen, but I don’t understand why this idea was stopped halfway. Seeing what awaits you after clicking “Single player”, the game could have started right there without the need for menus and the disruption of immersion.
Alas, perhaps the idea will be fully explored in the next fairytale. For now, we find ourselves in Amadeus’ (the wizard) den, just before the appearance of the Trine. Next up is Pontius the knight and Zoya the thief, with the first one in a small village that only a fairytale could portray and the second making her way on top of (and probably in) foreign houses under an equally enchanting night sky.
It’s hard not to be amazed by the beauty of world. Although the enchanting views won’t stop until the very end and Ari Pulkkinen’s musical compositions are mandatory for separate auditions, it is also true that in Trine you cannot go back home. The first two zones from which Zoya and Pontius begin the journey have an innocence that I did not wish to leave behind and that I have not found again. I wanted to step towards the unreal sunset in the village and on the hidden streets of the town, especially because they reminded me of so many “medieval” RPGs. But sadly, I could not; this platformer, with its magical world, can only be traveled from left to right.
“The way to read a fairy tale is to throw yourself in.” – W.H. Auden
The heroes haven’t changed that much, or their work methods. And it surprised me that all three of them were lazy in the same measure. Amadeus can, again, only conjure the same type of “boxes” and “planks”, Zoya has the same bow that she uses against attacking creatures and the same grappling hook, while Pontius is the standard option, fighting with his trusty sword and a hammer worthy of a god.
The range of abilities that can be unlocked is also brief, but in perfect harmony with the duration of the adventure. More objects conjured at the same time by Amadeus, a spell that allows you to levitate monsters without their agreement, cloaking for Zoya and a few new damage possibilities for her and Pontius, to count a few.
Personally, I’ve invested my points in Amadeus with no remorse, seeing how the first Trine has shown me that no matter how lazy I am when faced with puzzles, I can pass most of them with a tower of boxes. The planks are also very useful, especially in high number, when the pit that you must jump over seems too vast.
Trine 2 also reminded me of a very important lesson: through play and experimentation you can often find answers. Continuously throwing boxes over one another and jumping carelessly everywhere, I have many times glimpsed the solution to a puzzle. If I thought that in the present screen I only need speed and access to heights, I would pick Zoya and dash forward. When that didn’t work, I started conjuring boxes and jumping over them.
I enjoyed the fact that from a certain point onward, a lot of puzzles allow you different ways of approaching them, even without Amadeus’ lazy cheating method. The types of puzzles are mostly the same as the first time, with three new models standing out: the ones in which you have to water plants that, after growing, offer increased access to heights; the ones that involve portals – to many, these will be reminiscent of… yeah, Portal. But, to be honest, what kind of puzzle of this type doesn’t remind of Portal from 2007 onwards?
The third type are a more special case, placing you in front of giant creatures, sometimes frogs and snails, that have reached this size because of the water’s magical properties. At their scale, maybe it is expected that their main concern is food, but it’s hard getting past them without the feeling that much more could have been done with these puzzles, also taking into account that the graphics department really went the extra mile in their creation.
About Pontius, just as in the first Trine, I generally had the impression that he is useless for finishing a puzzle. Right up until a moment that enlightened me, when I realized that if I had invested in his hammer-throwing ability, the situation would have been a lot simpler. Nevertheless, his shield is absolutely essential when needing to pass flames or acid.
Apart from that that, Pontius is the standard choice for battles. The fighting sections have been designed with a bit more care this time, and the attacking creatures fit better with the scenery. The monsters that were appearing from nowhere around the heroes have been eliminated, but apart from this, fighting is still completely secondary in importance, its purpose being to trouble you while thinking of the puzzles or to drag things a bit until the finale.
The most adventurous can try to dispose of the wicked creatures only with the help of Amadeus, who can crush them with his objects or throw them into pits or lava and acid flows.