Trine 2 is one of the many ports to grace the Wii U’s launch library but, unlike many AAA contenders that perform worse on Wii U than on previous systems, Trine 2 on Wii U is the superior version of this indie puzzle platforming gem. Returning the players to the whimsical world of Trine as Amadeus the wizard, Pontius the knight and Zoya the thief in an unconventional co-op adventure, Trine 2 will offer Wii U owners a wealth of content for a decent price on the Wii U’s eShop.
For those who haven’t played Trine before, you should know that it isn’t much of a story. Those who are put off on account of missing the first game shouldn’t be concerned as, whilst the game poses an intimidating roster of three playable heroes, their inclusion is more to do with gameplay than anything else.
The wizard can conjure boxes and levitate objects with his magic, the knight is capable of shielding himself and attacking enemies directly, and the thief’s bow and grappling rope are equally useful in combat and platforming sections respectively.
The majority of Trine 2 is a simple case of going from A to B, but the puzzles that block your path are intricate and creative, requiring the use of all three heroes to proceed. The complex physics engine lends itself to creating some pretty fiendish puzzles. Some are more clichéd than others, but it’s genuinely a joy to truly master a section of the game. Level ups can also be achieved by collecting orbs in the levels, a twofold mechanic that offers you extra additional challenges during each gameplay section and also gives you cool new abilities for each of the heroes as the game progresses.
The game makes a pretty seamless port to Wii U, and the addition of the Goblin Menace DLC into the download makes it an even meatier package than on Xbox 360, PS3 or PC. The price is slightly higher than other versions as a result of this, which is a shame, but the cost remains competitive for a DLC title on the Wii U eShop. Developer Frozenbyte had promised a totally new game mode specifically designed for Wii U, but it seems strangely absent at the time of writing. The campaigns themselves are long enough to tide you over in the meantime though and, with local and online co-op for up to three players, you can always find new people to tackle the masterful puzzles of Trine with.
The controls are one of the major obvious differences between the Director’s Cut and earlier versions of Trine, with the Wii U Gamepad as the centrepiece. Conventional control schemes are usable with the dual analogue setup of the Gamepad, but you can also get the touch screen involved for a bit of extra control. It works marvellously with the Thief’s grappling hook and for conjuring boxes as Amadeus the wizard, but it’s best to stick to normal controls for when you bring the knight in for melee combat.
It’s great having these different control options, but the controllers supported by Trine 2 are perplexing at best. You can use Wii remotes in multiplayer and, whilst the pointing controls don’t always lend themselves to the hectic pace of combat in Trine 2, the wiimote works well overall. You can plug a classic controller into your remote if you want a more traditional setup, but you can’t use the new Wii U Pro Controller. This was a major sticking point for me as, not only is the Pro Controller a really nice pad to use, but it also doesn’t make sense that a Wii U specific controller has no support in a game so based on local co-op.
On the plus side, online servers are available if you can’t get your mates around for a local multiplayer session. The online side of things is easy to set up and use and, whilst it’s tricky to properly coordinate with total strangers on the more complex puzzles, it’s a welcome extra. Servers seemed to suffer from regular lag during testing, but this is hopefully a hiccup of early adoption that will be phased out as time moves on.
Though the online consistency and controller support might be somewhat off with other versions of Trine, the graphics are definitely at their best on Wii U. Though other ports have struggled with the odd CPU speed of the Wii U, Trine 2 has adapted amicably, looking even better than most AAA launch titles for the system. The often obnoxious blur that accompanied the 360 and PS3 versions of the game is now gone, allowing you to appreciate Trine 2’s excellent backdrops and environments. The colours look slightly more washed out than the PC version of the game, but the Wii U shares the enhanced physics of the PC version, improving the quality and scope of destructible objects in the game.
Things look exceptionally good on the Gamepad as well, with the touch screen permanently recreating what’s on your TV. It means the whole single player experience can be enjoyed on the Gamepad when your TV is being used for something else. The framerate takes a bit of a hit when playing on the Gamepad, but Trine 2 is still hugely playable in this format, looking almost as good as it does on the big screen.
Overall, despite a mild price increase over other versions, Trine 2: Director’s Cut is certainly the definitive version of the game. Its slow pace may put off some, but clever puzzles and fantastic visuals make it one of the stand out launch titles for the Wii U. The fact that it is so easy to access on the Wii U’s eShop is also a credit to Nintendo’s efforts in this field and the respectful manner in which they are treating independent developers. It’s a win win situation.
This game was reviewed on the Wii U.