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Review: Trine 2: Director’s Cut for Wii U eShop

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Trine 2 is an action platformer from Frozenbyte studios that was released last year on the PC, Playstation Network, and Xbox Live marketplace.  For the launch of the Wii U, a special Director’s Cut was created for the Wii U’s eshop.  This special edition includes expansion modes and all new levels that the previous releases did not have.  Is it worth the upgrade?  Does it have enough to stand out on the Wii U eshop?  Let’s find out.

Trine 2 reunites heros Amadeus, Pontius, and Zoya.  I would assume that these heroes are the same from the first Trine, but as I have never played that game, I can not say with certainty.  The story here makes you believe that these heroes know one another and have history together.  They don’t know why the Trine (a lantern like object with mystical powers) has brought them back together, so you find out just as they do.  I don’t believe that it is necessary to play through the first game to get the second’s story.  Some quips or comments from the characters may harken back to events from Trine 1, but again, I wouldn’t know.  What is present here storyline wise is compelling enough to make you want to find out what happens next.  This is not the best story of all time by any means, but it gets the job done.
The best feature in Trine 2 is the outstanding environments.  Graphics shine through here whether using the Wii U’s Gamepad screen or your TV screen.  Everything looks amazing and the characters can interact with just about anything on the screen.  At times, I found myself stuck only to find the answer right in front of me.  What looked like a bit of scenery turned out to be just the thing to get me past the obstacle.  The music in Trine 2 is pretty good too.  The entire presentation really pulls you in and keeps your attention.  If the story doesn’t grab you, the environments will.

Gameplay wise, Trine 2 is a mixed bag of sorts.  Each hero has exclusive moves that must be used together in order to get past the more difficult levels.  Amadeus is a wizard who can move objects around and even create different sized boxes that can be used to reach otherwise unattainable powerups.  Unfortunately, Amadeus has very limited attacks…or maybe I just haven’t leveled him up enough.  Most of the game, I was only able to grab onto enemies and fling them into spikes or pits.  This is actually a lot of fun, but only if you are in a safe place and can pick and choose which enemy you want to kill.  Zoya is a thief with a grapple hook that allows her to swing over danger or to fling herself up to new platforms.  Her attack is with a bow and arrow.  It is limited in the damage it can inflict at first, but can be powered up to include frozen arrows.  If you are in a scrap, though, you better find a perch to rain arrows from in order to survive.  If you are surrounded by the troll like enemies in the game, you are better off if you have Pontius available to mow down those enemies with his sword or hammer attacks.  Pontius is a knight in armor that is definitely the muscle of the group.  His sword can be upgraded to a flaming weapon and he can throw his hammer to destroy higher obstacles or kill enemies in hard to reach places.  Whenever I found myself without Pontius, I started looking for a checkpoint so he would re spawn.  At every checkpoint, each character is brought back to life with full health.  While Pontius is the best playable character in my opinion, it would be nice if there was a sense of balance between the three.  As it is, if I didn’t have Pontius and there was not a check point close by, more often than not, it was a game over for me.  Amadeus and Zoya just don’t have the attacks to hold up against many enemies, at least not in my opinion.  Maybe once they are powered up, they are on the knight’s level, but I don’t think so.
Trine 2 is a great fantasy adventure with outstanding environments.  The story is passable and the gameplay, while heavily skewed in one attack direction, is good enough.  The Wii U Gamepad’s touch screen can be used to aim Zoya’s arrows and Pontius’ hammer throws, but really is for Amadeus.  His box creation is done by drawing a square on the screen.  The bigger the square, the bigger box he can create.  You can also touch objects or enemies for Amadeus to move around.  Thankfully, the touch controls are not required, as every move can be performed with the actual buttons and joysticks on the gamepad.  The Wii U Pro controller, original Wiimotes, and classic controllers can also be used with this game.  The only downfall to button-only controls is Amadeus’ box creation.  I found that much easier with the Gamepad’s touch screen.  The Wii U version includes all 13 levels of the original Trine 2 release and the 6 all new levels of the Goblin Menace expansion that hit PCs this past September.  Also for this edition, Frozenbyte created an exclusive Dwarven Caverns level.  To open this, you must collect 10 secret map pieces that are located in the 6 Goblin Menace levels.  There is also a multi-player option that allows you to play as one hero with two other players taking control of the other two heroes.  Apparently, the entire game can be played in this fashion, but I was unable to test it for this review.

Bottom line, is the game worth the $20 asking price?  I think it is and right now, until January 7th, you can download Trine 2 for a discounted price of $16.  The graphics are beautiful, the voice work is very good, and the controls are not bad enough to have you destroying your newly purchased gamepad.  I enjoyed my time with the game and I think that if you are interested in platformers or puzzle games, you will enjoy it too.
Trine 2: Director’s Cut by Frozenbyte
Genre: Platformer/Puzzle game with RPG elements
Rated: E 10+
Score: 80 out of 100
Available now on Nintendo Wii U eshop

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