Throughout the years, there have been plenty of platformers that stand out and rise above the pack, some more than other. Of course, you have the early days of your Pitfalls and Super Marios, but every so often we see smaller teams create unique titles that people will talk about for long after. There are two games that came out within a year of each other that I’ll associate with bringing back a huge resurgence of platformers, each for different reasons.
2008’s Braid was a small game that lovingly mixed the nostalgia of 16-bit platformers with high-concept time mechanics and a thought-provoking story – as ambiguous as it may have been. Less than a year later, the original Trine was released to great acclaim. A beautiful, well-crafted platformer with a heavy focus on solving physics-based puzzles, this improved-sequel perfected the ability to switch between characters on-the-fly to help conquer the more difficult aspects of the adventure. Did I also mention the cooperative play and how beautiful it was? It can’t be restated enough: Trine 2 was, and remains, an utterly gorgeous game.
Given the system’s popularity it’s not surprising that Trine 2 has made its way to the Nintendo Switch, and with Trine 2: Complete Story you’ll get just that: the complete story, including all subsequent bonus DLC, high production values and refined gameplay that have made Frozenbyte’s epic sequel the beloved classic it’s become.
Trine 2 picks up shortly after the events of the first game and, drawn to the ever great power of the mysterious Trine, three playable characters make their return to once again rid the kingdom of evil. It’s certainly not groundbreaking fantasy story-telling, but the way the characters interact with one another through dialogue is fun enough and brings a real sense of comradery between them.
You have Amadeus and his box-creating magic and telekinesis, Zoya with her bow and arrow, and Pontius with his combat-focused sword, hammer and shield. Each complement each other while still presenting the challenge of being versatile enough to add options to a puzzle. While there’s usually a clearcut way to making a jump or defeating an enemy, often times there will be any number of ways to make the task work. To some, that might feel like the ability to “game” the puzzle is an inherent flaw due to the physics-based puzzles and systems in Trine. But the way situations are presented always feel well-tuned to having those various outcomes to one singular solution.
The addition of having a bigger skill tree than the first Trine also adds a bit to the game, though I did feel my hands were forced into buying certain upgrades in order to make it past a sequence, more a visual interpretation of your progress than a choice. Still, it’s understandable why this was done as you can’t really have any large game-breaking skills unlocked before it’s necessary, otherwise you’d spoil your puzzle game much quicker than expected.
Trine has always been praised for its beautiful art direction and use of colors. While the game will always have a higher fidelity on its PC counterpart, the Switch version looks incredibly sharp compared to other ports I’ve seen. Colors are sharp and clear and fine details never look muddied, either in docked or mobile mode. The soundtrack remains, as always, symphonically and triumphantly stupendous. Make sure you’ve got a good set of headphones – or compatible sound system – when playing this one.
It’s not all roses on the Switch, however. One area that doesn’t translate well, and should have, is with the controls, most notably when controlling the wizard Amadeus. The bow shooting and sword swinging control just fine but when it comes to using any levitation or box creating spells, it can take some fidelity and effort as you’re given a slow-moving cursor. For instance, to create a box you must draw a square on the screen with your cursor. Using a mouse, I’d always make immaculate squares that would make a geometrist blush. Using a controller, however, I could only make shapes inspired by The Thing.
The fidelity and accuracy just isn’t there, often making these basic sections trickier with timing than it needs to be. While there’s really no better way to do it with an analog stick, in a perfect world the ability to use the touch screen would be a nice addition. I mean, it’s right there, just waiting to be used on a game like this. Tracing a box would be quicker and more precise as well as more as giving you the opportunity to make quicker snap decisions when time is a concern.
Trine 2: The Complete Story comes with the additional DLC that was originally released about a year after the base game. I hadn’t messed with it until now and was happy to find it adds new areas, including some game-changing skills that are fun to mess around with just as much as the original set was and just as surprising. While it does feel short, especially compared to its slightly average length base game, the Goblin Menace DLC adds just enough bonus puzzles and challenges to help round out a pretty solid package.
Overall, little has changed in the way of formula or presentation in Trine 2 on the Switch, and Trine 2: Complete Story is everything that make the sequel great, including bonus DLC that adds to already compelling package. If you’ve somehow managed to miss any of the game’s previous iterations before now here’s your chance to see what the fuss was – and is – all about. Trine 2 remains a phenomenal game after all this time, easily the best of the series (with the original Trine closely behind), and shines ever bright on the Switch.