Don’t let its download-only stature fool you. As far as eShop offerings go, Trine 2: Director’s Cut is about as full-bodied a puzzle adventure can get.
As the name suggests, Trine centres on a trio: the knight, thief, and wizard – all three brought together by the titular object to venture through the flora and fauna, snowy peaks, and dank caverns of this fantasy kingdom.
In their respective roles, each member of your adventure threesome is distinct in their play style. Brave Knight Pontius is more brawn than brain, coming in handy when his sword, shield, and hammer are called into action in between puzzles.
On the other end of this scale, Amadeus is a thinker, not a fighter, and his ability to conjure up blocks out of thin air makes him a valuable asset in Trine’s lateral puzzles.
Thief Zoya sits somewhere in the middle, a sneaky type capable of grappling through Trine 2’s gorgeous tapestry and aiming her bow to provide backup from a safe distance.
Alone, you’ll have to juggle all three, swapping them in and out as their abilities are required. Online play is a welcomed bonus that adds to the Wii U’s slim library of online co-op campaigns but Trine 2 is an experience best enjoyed around two screens – one of the gamepad while two friends join in with Wii Remotes.
It’s a preferred set-up as you’ll regularly want to communicate and plot your solutions directly, especially on the time-intensive conundrums.
Those adventuring alone will still find plenty of magic figuring out how to make the best use of your Swiss army trio even if the game does a poor job at introducing their abilities.
However, it’s Trine’s loosely defined physics that really lack elegance here. There are numerous ways to approach each one of the game’s puzzles but you’ll often rely on Amadeus’ platform creating spells for a quick but ultimately unsatisfying solution. This extends to the platforming which never feels as freeform as you’d expect.
The GamePad doesn’t help matters, often feeling too clunky to fumble over as you shift between the touch screen and button controls. Being able to aim Zoya’s grappling hook on screen and drop Amadeus’ boxes is an obvious perk but it loses some fluidity in the process.
What’s important is that while its puzzles aren’t perfect, there’s certainly plenty of it. An enjoyable adventure extended by the Goblin Menace expansion not included in the game’s original release will throw your play time will over the 15-hour mark.
There’s also a great sense of character to this world that never fails to impress, whatever you’re doing. From its multi-layers views that give added detail to the backdrops, foregrounds where goblins spy and plot, water flows convincingly. Even if you’re stumped on a puzzle, it’s hard not to marvel at the trappings that it’s wrapped
The lack of ‘Eureka! moments’ causes Trine 2’s magic to wear off fairly quickly due to some ropey physics but you’ll stay for what is otherwise a well-realised world and a decent RPG puzzler that provides more than you’d expect from the meagre price tag.