Like the 2009 original, Trine 2 is a physics based 2D puzzle platformer somewhat similar to The Lost Vikings or even Limbo.
Whether playing solo or with a couple buddies locally or online, the player will control a batch a stereotypical characters. The knight can slice through baddies with his sword, bash walls with his hammer or block some attacks with his shield. Best used for solving puzzles, the wizard can levitate most objects and create platforms out of nothing. And the female rouge can shoot distant targets with her bow and swing from platform to platform Bionic Commando-style.
The meat of the gameplay revolves around solving a puzzle that is right in front of you, meaning, you need to figure out a way to reach that next platform or section of the stage. Without much of a tutorial, the game solely leaves the puzzle solving to the player. After a few moments of examination, the answer to the puzzle can usually be determined. Gameplay elements like manipulating a waterfall so a plant can grow, using a box as a counter weight or flipping switches become puzzle staples.
However, even though there is usually one clear answer trying to make it from Point A to Point B, the most fun comes from experimenting with two friends via online play. Sure, each player can specifically play as one of the three available characters but the unlimited mode allows for any player to swap to any character at will. And when you have three wizards, stacking several boxes and levitating other players can also break the balance of the game… but it sure is fun. Even just screwing around with the physics engine is also a great way to simply burn some time.
There are even light RPG elements as characters can obtain upgraded abilities, like shooting ice arrows or summoning more than one box at a time. Each stage also contains hidden collectables that are entirely optional but will yield rewards for those dedicated enough to scout them out.
While there isn’t much to talk about in terms of story, the visuals are sure to turn heads. With some of the best graphics on XBLA, Trine 2 is a great looking 2D game. This also works hand in hand with the stellar physics and animations as everything moves and rotates realistically. Wrapping up the full presentation values, the refined voice work is also accompanied by a gentle storybook presentation which suits the stunning visuals well.
For 1200 Microsoft Points, it is difficult to find a better three player co-op on and offline experience. Although there is still room for improvement in terms of variety of puzzles and storyline, Trine 2 has more polish than the original and is worthy of a full purchase for those looking for a new co-op experience. The gorgeous visuals and entertaining 3-player co-op is a great way to end 2011.
Better Visuals Than: Most XBLA games
Also Try: Three-player Rampage
Wait For It: A sale or another sequel
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