One of the games I grew up with was The Lost Vikings for the SNES, where you would control three unique characters in order to solve puzzles and reach the exit alive. Recently, I downloaded a demo of a game called Trine 2: The Complete Story that feels somewhat similar. You control three characters, Amadeus the wizard, who can levitate objects and create blocks out of thin air, Pontius the knight, who is equipped with a sword and shield, and Zoya the thief, who is armed with her bow and trusty grappling hook.
The first thing that really struck me with this game was how absolutely gorgeous the graphics are. Taking place in a fantasy setting, the brilliant colors and lighting effects really evoke that magical vibe they were clearly going for. And while I have read that some people find the narration to be aimed at a younger audience, I found it to be very charming and to suit the game’s atmosphere perfectly. After all, one of my favorite books of my childhood was The Hobbit, so perhaps finding a fantasy game that makes me feel like a kid again isn’t such a bad thing.
After getting a feel for each character separately, the demo let me play through the game’s first level. Unlike The Lost Vikings, this game has all three characters combined (thanks to the power of the titular Trine), and you swap between them with a press of a button, making this game much more streamlined. One nice thing about this game is that it can be played differently depending on which playstyle you prefer, and I think there are multiple ways in which you can complete a level, as many stretches of that first stage could be traversed with any character you wanted.
I must admit, however, the first level was very easy, and I felt like minimal puzzle solving was needed. The most puzzling I can recall was a spot towards the end of the level when I had to use Zoya to shoot a vine with an arrow to free a boulder, which Amadeus then proceeded to use to break down a wall. While the game was certainly fun, I have to wonder if it gets more difficult later on and whether or not the puzzles will ever get particularly thought-provoking.
If Trine 2 ever goes on sale, I might be tempted to buy the full game, but even so, I am curious about the difficulty level. Beautiful graphics and charming characters can only go so far if the core gameplay is doomed to grow stale after a while. One thing that I really liked about The Lost Vikings was how challenging it was and how each character felt like a very necessary part of the team. While it can be nice that Trine 2 often gives you the freedom to play as whoever you choose, I have to wonder if this game achieves the same perfect balance that The Lost Vikings had.