When the dinner dishes are clean, the lights dimmed, and the hectic rush of the work day done, it’s time for a bedtime story. Your breathing returns to a normal rate, and with your kids tucked under the blankets, you can embrace that total calm and crack open the spine of a book. But what if you and the youngster could play through your bedtime story together? If that sounds up your alley, then consider picking up Trine 2.
It may be a sequel, but you don’t need to have played the previous entry to enjoy Trine 2. The story is one of elemental simplicity. Three unlikely heroes, summoned by a magical quest-giving object known as the Trine, must stop the forces of evil from destroying the kingdom. Pontius, the big-boned knight, is game for adventures of any kind, while the fretful wizard Amadeus just wants to stay home with the wife and kids. Zoya, an entrepreneur of the rogueish variety, is mainly interested in profiting off of the trio’s journey.
You can play as any of Trine 2’s heroes, or switch between them if you have less than three players. Amadeus can levitate objects and create boxes out of thin air, Zoya shoots arrows and swings around on a grappling hook, and Pontius mainly smashes stuff. While there are a couple combat sections, Trine 2 is mainly a puzzle game, and like any good fairy tale, you’ll need the special knacks of all three characters to get anywhere.
Like most games in this column, Trine 2 is a lot more fun to play with another person. I tended to settle into one character I enjoyed more than the others, which created opportunities for vulnerability and teamwork with my partner. My girlfriend, playing the beefy knight, had to jump to my aid and protect my delicate wizard bones whenever goblins showed up.
The game is chock full of fairy tale material, with dragons, bubbling cauldrons and, in one case, a giant snail, all populating the physics puzzles. Themes aside, almost everything about Trine 2 feels like it belongs in a picture book read bedside. The art is brimming with vibrant and soft color, and the soundtrack recalls adventure in just about every far off land you can think of. On a less tangible level, there’s a comforting feeling to play that’s somehow devoid of the normal frustrations associated with puzzle games. The world of Trine 2 is fun enough that poking around feels entertaining, even without any progress.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s actually a more recent Trine game than the one we’re talking about. But with a shorter run time and a lot less focus, Trine 3 is lackluster compared to its overachieving baby brother. The best stories aren’t always the newest ones, after all–sometimes, it’s hard to beat a classic.