Ymiris is an absolute gem of a gaming husband: he is constantly looking for games that we can play together, either as a couple or as a family. During the last Steam sale, as a family we probably picked up 20 or so games/expansions. We would have picked up more, but there were a few we were really waiting for that never made it on the list (What, Civ V expansion is too good for a summer sale?)
One of these was Trine 2. We had seen the video of it, displaying something unique in the Co-op realm: a side scroller with three playable characters and beautiful, colorful backgrounds.
What this doesn’t capture is a few things that make this not just an enjoyable co-op, but one that doesn’t make the other player stabby. Dear rest of the world making co-ops: PLEASE TAKE NOTE.
1) One player’s activities does not always affect the other. If Ymiris is stuck trying over & over to get a bottle for some unknown reason (I can only think it represented some lost ice cream in his psyche & he was dead-bent on showing it who was boss), I am not caught up in that unless he needs help. I can continue on, explore other places, or find my own trap
2) One player can affect the other, and be incredibly useful. The mage can create boxes and planks out of thin air to elevate the other character and drop them from tall heights to get a particularly cumbersome bottle.
3) Working together means a get-out-of-maze-free card. If you’ve tried multiple times to jump over the lava pit with shooting fireballs, use the mage to elevate the other person over said trap, being careful for the fireballs. Voila! No dexterity needed. This became particularly useful in not throwing down the controller & forbidding the game to ever enter the house again just because jumping had to be timed just right. (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, LITTLE BIG PLANET!)
4) One person can leave, go get lunch, take care of the child, paint their toenails, or talk to the neighbor without really hindering the other. Because you can switch between characters, you can create your own planks & boxes as the mage, then switch to the thief to finish the journey. It’s not as quick, but it’s doable, and you get the same amount of satisfaction for outwitting the land.
5) The puzzles are not always “make mage lift/lower something magically.” There are a number of other puzzles and secrets throughout the game that makes continual playing worth it, as well as repeats. I still love the puzzle of how to get out of jail, and Ymiris found the snowman, which was so neat to find.
To be fair, there are still downsides that need to be worked out if there is to be a Trine3.
* The mage is by far the most fun to play, as he is able to pull and push parts of the scenery to have the most impact. The thief is the next most fun, and the meat shield is just that- a shield. The last two characters need more incentive to play – maybe a different dialogue depending on who is out, or a special move that two specific characters can do together. I would love to see the tank throw the wizard, or the thief go stealth & carry the tank as if they were levitating.
* We did not play Trine1, but we have heard that this storyline is awful compared to the first, and that not much was added. We are writing this based on only Trine2, and would not suggest Trine1 – especially because it does not have multiplayer across computers. If you are looking for a storyline, this isn’t it, though I may change my mind on this once we have finished the game.
* The 3D is _too_ beautiful. Ymiris will spend 30 minutes ensuring it is set up perfectly, because seeing a purple dragon swaying before you, it’s gold jewelry dangling and sparkles shooting in 3D, is too much to give up. This will be my new go-to game for explaining why I want a 3D monitor. Trine3 will either have to make it less sparkly, or come with every 3D monitor because seriously, this was mind-bogglingly beautiful, and Ymiris should not have all the fun.
Overall, I definitely suggest it. I also have heard there is a setting to let more than one of a character out – so, conceivably, you can both be wizards at the same time. I also know that there is the ability to coop with all 3 characters instead of just 2, but we haven’t been able to try that out yet. Message us if you want to be our third!
Last, I did have the opportunity to meet the Thief -err, Entrepreneur – from Trine at PAX this year. We also wanted to include some gameplay of why we enjoy it so much.