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Trine 2: Director's Cut - Wii U Download Review

Game Info
Trine 2: Director's Cut

Wii U Download | Frozenbyte | 1-3 Players (local/online co-operative play) | Out Now | $19.99 / £13.99
Controller Compatibility: Wii U GamePad; Wii Remote and Nunchuk; Classic Controller
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28th December 2012; By Patrick

Platformers have had a place in the heart of many, especially Nintendo fans. From when
Super Mario Bros. debuted in 1985 on the NES -- effectively reinventing the 2D platformer -- to when Super Mario 64 debuted in 1996 -- inventing the 3D platformer -- Nintendo consoles have typically been the number one place to go for the best platforming experiences. With Trine 2: Director's Cut, developer Frozenbyte has brought their critically-acclaimed Trine franchise to a Nintendo system for the first time.

    A 2D platformer, the game is not quite what one would typically expect from the genre. It is incredibly slow-paced as you focus more on action and puzzle-solving than actually traversing the environment. There are platforming puzzles, of course, but they might have you pausing your progress to consider your options. The game offers you control of three very different characters: Amadeus the Wizard, Pontius the Knight, and Zoya the Thief. You can use the shoulder buttons to toggle between the characters at any time, as you'll need them all for different situations. Each character has their own health bar, but fallen characters will be revived as you pass through semi-frequent checkpoints.

    Amadeus has the ability to move objects in the game world. Using a reticule to select a target in the environment, you can move most anything that could potentially be an obstacle. Additionally, by rotating the Right Stick to drag the reticule in a circle, the player can create boxes that can be used to do things such as leverage see-saws, crush enemies, or serve as platforming tools. Pontius, however, is more of a standard hack-'n'-slash character. Controlling a sword and a shield, Pontius moves across the screen at a very slow speed. Pontius is a character you would use for combat or destroying obstacles like vines, but nothing else. Finally, there is my favorite character: Zoya the Thief. Zoya is agile, attacking by shooting arrows in any direction. She can also wall-jump and grapple, allowing for a level of acrobatics that runs silky smooth as the game runs at 60 frames per second.

    Of course, with this game being not only the Director's Cut, but being on Wii U, it features some excellent bonus content. For starters, the previously PC-only DLC pack "Goblin Menace" is in the game right away, boosting the level count up to 19. Then, for players who complete Goblin Menace, there is a bonus, 20th stage exclusive to Wii U. Additionally, the game brings in several uses of the Wii U GamePad. Off-screen play is offered without the need for any menu navigation or button presses; it runs simultaneously on both screens at all times. Secondly, Right Stick functionality has been mapped to the GamePad. As Amadeus, you can simply touch and swipe to move or create objects, Zoya can shoot arrows by tapping and holding, and Pontius will hold his shield in the direction of the stylus.

If the idea of only having 20 stages to play through seems short to you, you can rest assured that these are nowhere near as quick as a level in a more fast-paced 2D platformer. The shortest level takes roughly 15 minutes to complete, and there are added collectables scattered around levels that can be used to level up. The game also saves any time you exit to the menu, so you can retain your progress from anywhere in the stage. Leveling up is done by assigning points to a three-way skill tree. You can give powers to any of the three characters at any time by pausing the game, and you can reset the skill tree too. For example, by default, Amadeus can only create one box at a time. However, if you need more for a puzzle, you can remove one point from Pontius, let Amadeus create a second box, platform across, and then reassign the point back to Pontius.

    The entire game can also be played through by a single player or with up to three players locally and online. However, Wii U Pro Controllers are not yet supported. This will be remedied in a promised update, which will also increase the vividness of the game's visuals and patch in online voice chat, which is important for this style of cooperative gameplay. Even without this update, the game is still drop-dead gorgeous. The Trine games are known to look gorgeous with their high-resolution textures, wide range of color palettes, and stunning storybook art style, but Trine 2: Director's Cut looks even more stunning than did the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the base game. There are some higher-end PCs that can still run the game with better visuals, but the Wii U port generally has the best visuals you'll find.

    And finally, the game's audio is equally excellent. With a 20-song soundtrack by composer Ari Pulkkinen, the music guides you through the various tones and locales of the game, perfectly complementing the game while standing up as great music on its own. However, due to the fact that the game is also streaming simultaneously to the Wii U GamePad, the volume should be muted on the GamePad when playing on the TV lest it get barely out of sync.

    Trine 2: Director's Cut may currently be the most expensive Download-Only eShop title on Wii U, but it's also a perfect example of how to bring a game over to the platform. The added content, added visual vivacity, and new control methods make playing through the game again fun, and playing through it for the first time an absolute blast. The promise of the update may instill caution in some, but Frozenbyte have proven with the base game that they know exactly how to develop on the Wii U, and the fact that they are releasing these added features in a free update right after launch is further evidence that they care about releasing a quality product -- which the game is, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

25/30 - Very Good

Gameplay 8/10 - Three diverse characters, editable skill tree, sprawling levels requiring lots of thinking, save system alleviates much frustration
Presentation 9/10 - Gorgeous game made even prettier, Grade-A soundtrack, art style translates well to high-resolution textures and environments
Enjoyment 4/5 - Differentiation between characters leads to different experiences, works seamlessly on GamePad as well as TV
Extra Content 4/5 - Online and offline co-op, 20 levels including previous DLC and one exclusive, bonus content locked until main game completed

Equivalent to a score of 83% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by Patrick

Trine 2: Director's Cut
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