Once upon a time back in 2009, a little-known Finnish developer called Frozenbyte released a physics-based puzzle platformer on PC and PSN. This game’s name was Trine, and it was the most brilliantly beautiful game the world had ever seen. It told the story Zoya the thief, Amadeus the wizard, and Pontius the knight who have their souls bound together by a magical artefact known as the Trine. Mysteriously, the Trine only allows one of them to exist at any one time, so the three adventurers set off to free themselves of the Trine’s magic.
The idea itself was simple. It took the skill required in platformers, the adrenaline created by action games, and the mental workout demanded by puzzles, and then combined all these elements to make a great game, and just as it seamlessly switched between genres, so too could players control and switch between the three characters to climb towers, fight monsters, and solve its myriad of puzzles.
As Zoya the thief, players could jump, double-jump, and swing across chasms her grappling hook to traverse the lushly drawn stages; as Pontius the knight, they could fight skeletons and a whole host of other fantasy creatures with his sword, shield, and hammer, and as Amadeus the mage, they could create and manipulate objects to solve puzzles based around water, fire, gravity, and other cool mechanics. It may not have been as expansive or creative as games like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but Trine‘s platforming action was both smooth and enjoyable, with intuitive and satisfying hack and slash action mixed with some truly mind-bending puzzle solving.
Trine was such a success that Frozenbyte released a sequel two years later, this time spreading the high-fantasy love to XBLA as well, and it picked up where the original Trine left off, calling upon our three favorite heroes once again to defeat a hoard of goblins threatening the safety of their kingdom.
It followed the same basic premise as its predecessor, keeping the gameplay largely familiar, but what made Trine 2 truly special was that you could now share your adventure with two friends, with each player taking on the role of Zoya, Pontius and Amadeus separately in the same game. Zoya’s dexterity meant players could pick off monsters from afar with her bow while Pontius waded in to crack both puzzles and skulls with brute force, and Amadeus could help players reach places even Zoya would have trouble reaching on her own. It improved upon its predecessor in every way possible, letting players earn experience and an enlarged repertoire of new skills by solving puzzles and defeating enemies, and it made it so much more than a disjointed set of platforms, battle arenas, and puzzles.
Trine 2 also presented a truly stunning world for players to enjoy. It’s a lush, amazingly beautiful world. I can throw out every synonym to “beautiful” and I will have not described this magical fairy-tale world. Imagine, if you will, the bold, artistic graphics of Ōkami and Muramasa: The Demon Blade. Combine that with the polished sheen from Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Donkey Kong Country Returns, add in some HD quality texture and sprinkle in some Tolkien-esque fantasy fairy tales, and you’ve got Trine 2. It really is breathtaking, and you’d have to hate the world not to appreciate this beautiful, beautiful, beautiful game.
Ultimately, it struck an impeccable balance between platforming, action, and puzzle-solving, managing what most other action-puzzle-platformers fail to do, and even though it perhaps wasn’t the most ground-breaking game of its kind, its execution was nearly flawless. It received such critical acclaim, in fact, that Frozenbyte just recently released an expansion pack for the game that’s subtitled Goblin Menace. This featured six new levels, a new story and lots of new abilities for players to get to grips with, and it’s going to be included in the Director’s Cut of the game that’s making its way to Wii U in just a few short weeks.
We’ve already previewed Trine 2: Director’s Cut here at Nintendojo, but this must-have launch title rounds out all the sharp edges in the original game. In particular, Frozenbyte have taken the time to polish up all the little details, such as the voice acting and game interface, and the already stellar graphics and animations have been made even more vibrant as well. In addition, Frozenbyte have also announced a brand new mode called “Magic Mayhem”. Magic Mayhem is supposedly a frantic multiplayer “party” mode, but at the moment we don’t know very much about what this part of the game will entail. Whatever it is, I am sure it won’t disappoint.
The Wii U release will also incorporate all sorts of controller options including the Wii Remote, the nunchuk, the Wii U GamePad, the Classic Controller, and the Wii U Pro Controller, making it perfect for both local and online multiplayer, and the game will also be playable on just the GamePad too (Ed.– and we can assure you it looks just as stunning on the GamePad as it does on a TV screen!). No matter which way you look at it, Trine 2: Director’s Cut is definitely shaping up to be one of Wii U’s must-have launch titles, so if you’ve pre-ordered a Wii U, you absolutely owe it to yourself to download this gorgeous game from the eShop immediately after unpacking your Wii U. You certainly won’t regret it.