Trine 2: Directors Cut (Wii U eShop) Review

Like many of you, I have a tremendous list of games to play in my backlog.  Unfortunately, Trine 2 was one of the games on my list that was put on the backburner.  I really wanted to play, but with being bombarded with so many other amazing games I never really found the time to check it out.  So when I was offered the opportunity to review Trine 2: Director’s Cut on the Wii U I jumped at the chance as I was very eager to finally check out Frozenbyte’s sequel to the popular 2009 PC game.

For those unfamiliar with the Trine series, the games are 2D platformers mixed with some action and puzzle elements.  Set in a beautiful storybook setting, the story focuses on a trio of heroes: Amadeus the wizard, Pontius the Knight, and Zoya the thief.  Summoned to rid the kingdom of evil, which is overrun by goblins, their journey takes them through a world filled with forlorn wilderness, mushroom caves, deserts and other strange and mystical lands.  In the first few moments of the game, I was immediately struck by the striking visuals. Jawdroppingly gorgeous environments, beautiful colors, so much detail! It truly looks like a storybook. Trine 2 is great way to show off the HD graphics on the Wii U, and does so spectacularly.

When first starting the game you are introduced to the three main characters and their abilities.  Amadeus can levitate items and monsters out of the way, as well as being able to conjure up blocks and platforms.  Pontius uses his brute strength to bust through objectives and he uses his mighty sword against the hordes of goblins.  Finally, Zoya deftly zips to platforms with her grappling hook and can shoot down ropes and vines with her bow and arrow; the latter can be done with a swipe of the stylus.  Skills for each character can be upgraded via experience points found in collectables throughout the game.  There are a total of five different skills to learn for each character.  For example, Amadeus the wizard starts with the ability to conjure only one item.  Attempts to conjure another will cause the first one to disappear, but after upgrading he can eventually conjure up to four items at the same time.  A great thing about the skill trees for each characters is that skill points can be reset at any time, and you can give points to another character as needed.

I often found myself using the Amadeus the wizard, as he was quite fun to play as using the Wii U GamePad; however, you will need to switch characters to complete the many puzzles in game.  This is done with a simple touch on the character portrait found on the GamePad or by using the shoulder button.  Each character has a life meter, which once depleted will render the character lifeless until the next checkpoint.  When your character is hit, the GamePad rumbles, and I found that this can be rather annoying.  It’s not a gamebreaker by any means, just something I noticed seemed out of played on the GamePad.

The puzzles in Trine 2 are quite challenging, and even downright frustrating at times.  They are physics based and use such things as water, fire, gravity and magic; but thankfully there are a number of ways to solve each one depending on what character you are using and what skills are available to you.  I often found myself stumped at times where I just sat and paused, looking at the screen, wondering what the heck to do after trying just about everything.  A perfect example of this is that there is a puzzle very early in the game where I made fruitless attempts to levitate or destroy a boulder blocking the path only to discover that this “boulder” was actually a giant snail, and it moved only when a certain action was performed (hint – use Zoya!!).  If you find yourself truly baffled, having Miiverse at your fingertips is very handy, and you can post screenshots of the puzzle you are stuck on and request help from the community.

An added bonus with this version is the of the addition of the Goblins Menace DLC as well as a Wii U exclusive level, the Dwarven Caverns, which both providing players with an additional 20 levels of gameplay above and beyond the core game.  There is a multiplayer mode, with local or online co-op for up to three players which makes use of the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk for control, but unfortunately I did not have anyone to play this mode with, online or offline, during my review time.  I should also note there is talk of an upcoming patch in the near future that will add support for the Wii U Pro Controller as well as voice chat when playing online with friends.

As I mentioned earlier in this review I did not have the opportunity to play the previous iterations of this serious, but after my experience playing this Director’s Cut I really cannot imagine playing it on any other platform but the Wii U.  Trine 2 feels like it was meant to be played on the Wii U’s GamePad as it just works so well!  The touchscreen controls are truly ideal for such a game, with exception of using Pontius’s sword when killing goblins (I preferred using the trigger button).  The entire game can be played on the GamePad screen too, and I’ll admit it, I did not turn the TV on once during my time with the game.  I never felt the need to.  It looked absolutely spectacular and I was quite satisfied playing on the smaller screen.  I had a lot of fun with this game, and I dare say that this just might be my favourite game on the Wii U at this time.

With challenging puzzles, beautiful visuals, the inclusion of previously released DLC , a bonus Wii U level, and local/online play, Trine 2: The Director’s Cut is well worth the purchase price.  This downloadable title is easily one of the best games available on the Wii U.  Even if you own it on another platform you really shouldn’t miss this experience on Nintendo’s newest console.

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