Trine 2 combines a beautiful, artistic and vibrant world with platforming, puzzles and action / RPG elements to create one of the most visually stunning and entertaining downloadable titles of 2011.  These puzzles aren’t solved alone however.  Having the ability to simultaneously switch between three distinct characters makes Trine 2 one brain-twisting experience.

Throughout the game you’ll be using each of your three characters abilities to solve countless puzzles: Amadeus who is a wizard which can conjure boxes and platforms and has the ability to levitate multiple objects; Zoya is a thief who wields a grappling hook and a bow, and Pontiusis a fearless (fat) knight with a sword and shield (and hammer)

As you venture through the game you’ll have the ability to level up each of the three characters further increasing their skills. While these do make puzzle solving easier, leveling up isn’t necessary if you’re looking for a real challenge. Trine 2 also offers many different ways to play. If you want to try solving each puzzle by using just Zoya for instance, you’re more than welcomed to do so.  If things get to tough however, you can always switch to another character to help complete the current section.

Aside from puzzle solving, Trine 2 also offers a bit of combat. It’s not the strongest aspect of the game as it’s rather basic. Most of the enemies die in a few simple hits and aren’t very challenging, But when trying to solve platforming puzzles at the same time, it certainly makes things a bit more difficult.

However the challenge is actually where I found issues with Trine 2.  As challenging as it can be sometimes, the checkpoint system used in the game completely ruins it. Instead of reloading to a checkpoint and having to re-complete what you’ve done, the game just “warps” you to the area. This can be done at any time by accessing the pause menu. So, you never really have the fear of dying because you’ll never lose any progress.  While the puzzles aren’t easy, this system almost makes the game too easy.

This tends to make mini-boss like enemies insanely easy as you can simply spam the checkpoint system and repeat the same attacks without the worry of the enemies health returning back to full. It’s not a deal breaking, but it’s certainly an easy way out for gamers who can’t overcome the challenge.

As I mentioned before, Trine 2 is a simply beautiful. The colors are perfect, bloom is used just right, the environments feel like-like.  Overall it’s just one of the most beautiful downloadable titles I’ve seen in a long time. Even though some of the environments can be repeated, you’ll never get bored of seeing the same beautiful scenery.

The animations on the other hand are rather dull and don’t offer much variety, but the simple fact that you’ll have multiple ways to tackle each puzzle makes up for it. I would often find myself in the middle of solving a puzzle, just to realize I could have done it a completely different way. This is what makes Trine 2 so excellent. On your second playthrough, you can challenge yourself by completing different puzzles in multiple ways to further increase the replay value.

If that’s not you’re type of thing, co-op is also offered. Up to three players can take on the entire single player campaign playing freely as any character their heart desires. Unfortunately, the downside to co-op is that nothing will be changed. If you’ve already beaten the game by yourself, you’ll be doing the exact same puzzles over, but with a friend instead.

This is rather disappointing as a separate co-op experience with its own unique puzzles would have made a great time with friends. I’d rather be able to only complete certain puzzles and levels with friends, that way going in I would have no idea what to expect. Maybe in Trine 3?  Or Trine… Trine?

Overall, Trine 2 is simply a fantastic experience that any gamer who is a fan of puzzle platforming games should at the very least, try out. You just simply can’t go wrong with a beautiful downloadable title such as this that offers so much and takes a different approach at puzzle solving.

Not only that, but if you have a friend to jump in from the get-go, you’ll have one hell of a weekend. Bottom line is, if you’re looking to get your brain twisted for the holidays, Trine 2 is the game you’re looking for. You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s The Rundown:

+ Beautiful. Simply beautiful

+ Great physics and puzzle solving

+ Fantastic use of characters and abilites

+ Multiple ways to solve the same puzzles

+ Co-op

- Co-op, due to the lack of separate levels

- Some puzzles are overused a bit too much

- The current checkpoint system ruins much of the challenge

9 and 9.5 represent the pinnacle of the genre, a game that defines what that genre should be about. These scores are for games that you not only feel would be worth your purchase, but you would actually try to convince your friends to buy them as well.

Trine 2  was developed by Frozenbyte, and published by Atlus.  It will be released on XBLA and PSN on December 21st, 2011. A review copy was provided by Atlus for the purpose of this review. Trine 2 was played until completion taking around 6 hours to finish. It’s so pretty!