Review: Kick some Ass. Explore the World. Play Trine 2.

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Get ready to kick some goblins in the NUTS. After you’re finished trashing the Republican Presidential Debates, you should sit down and play some Trine 2Trine was released a couple years ago on the PC with stellar graphics and satisfying combat. The game was pretty well received and offered a new look to the classic genre of 2D action titles. With the promise of online multiplayer (a feature only available offline in the first), Trine 2 went into production looking better than ever. The time has come to throw down 15 dollars and once again enjoy 2D action at a quality that is second to none.

The adventure begins reiterating the function of an artifact called the Trine. It has the ability to link the souls of 3 people, allowing each one to live as long as the others are still kickin’. In this case (same as the first), a thief, a knight, and a wizard are joined by the mysterious relic to save their kingdom from… darkness or whatever. Each person can only exist physically one at a time, allowing the player to switch between each character and their abilities. If you’re playing co-op, all three can exist at once. The story doesn’t really explain this, but I don’t question how the hell two Master Chiefs are possible either.

The story is light and no one should care. This game is about leveling up, solving puzzles, and exploring beautiful environments. Thankfully for all of us, Trine 2 nails most of these.

In this shit kicking fiesta, dead enemies reward you with XP, but the game doesn’t hand it out like candy. XP is present in the form of collectable bottles that can be found on evil corpses, but not every baddy will drop one. However, XP bottles can also be found in random nooks and crannies around the environment that might require a little creative exploring or puzzle solving to obtain. This is quite ingenious because it encourages you to explore the gorgeous scenery knowing there could be a gem towards leveling up behind any alcove. Every 50 XP bottles earns you a skill point to be spent on one of the character’s skill trees.

Each character plays differently: The wizard can conjure up boxes to help get across gaps, The thief can shoot arrows and use a grappling hook, and the knight can really murder the hell out of some minions with a good old fashioned sword and shield. There is a separate skill tree for each, but they’re all relatively small and haven’t changed much since the last game. The wizard can be upgraded to conjure more boxes, the knight can get a more powerful sword and shield, and the thief can unlock icy, fiery, and explosive arrows. Each one can unlock these traits (and more) to help complete the challenge at hand. It’s kind of a shame there isn’t much for people who already saw it all in the first trine, but the small skill trees fit the shorter length of the game (about 8 hours) and are still fun to unlock and unleash on some nincompoops.

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Every new skill you unlock also helps you with the many puzzles peppered (more like peppered and then the cap fell off) in the environment. Unfortunately, this is the weakest part of the game by far. Each puzzle I completed made me feel like I was doing it “the wrong way.” I don’t know if there is a sure fire way to complete every brainteaser, but each one lacked the “ah-ha” moment present in every quality puzzle title. I felt like every challenge was barely solved with a lot of luck and a little craziness.

I was also surprised all the solutions involved skills you unlock via XP. I often wondered what would’ve happened if I had decided to choose something else on my skill tree. However, I found hints of other ways to solve each puzzle using different abilities. I appreciate the talent required to design every puzzle in a way where anyone can solve it no matter what skills they chose, but the puzzles themselves lacked intrigue and satisfaction to the point where they were nearly pointless. It wouldn’t be a problem if the puzzles were few and far between, but as I said earlier, the game lays them on thick, sometimes rewarding you for solving a puzzle with another puzzle.

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The graphics in this game are phenomenal! Trine was a beautiful game and if there’s one thing they topped themselves on, it’s visuals. Not only is every detail perfect, but almost every type of weather and topographical feature you can think of is represented in the game. You’ll be fighting enemies in icy mountains, lavish jungles, and dark claustrophobic dungeons. Each location is breathtaking, and before you can breathe again, the game throws you another gorgeous set piece to knock the wind out of you again. One of my favorite levels includes swimming under water in order to dodge the storm of thunder and rain above. The water illuminates ever so slightly on every strike, revealing flashes of the ocean life you’re swimming with. It’s jizz in my pants material. It’s been a long time since I can remember graphics this good in a 2D adventure and very well might be because it’s the best.

Trine 2 offers an experience every gamer should enjoy. The puzzles are a bit shoddy and the skill trees leave something to be desired, but its combat is satisfying, the exploration is wondrous, and the graphics are damn sexy. The game also includes a few extra features like online co-op, which is essentially the same experience with a couple other friends playing the other characters. It makes puzzles a little easier to solve and you can tell the developers made this game with co-op in mind. You can even plug in an extra keyboard (or 360 controller) and kick some ass offline. It may be on the low end of an A, but this game deserves to be played. Get the republican nuts off your foot and enjoy Trine 2!