Guide a Heroic Trio Through ‘Trine 2’
By: Jeb Haught
SYSTEM: Microsoft XBL download (PC, PSN)
ESRB RATING: E10+
REVIEW RATING: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
“Trine” was a surprise hit in 2009 due to its unique blend of various genres that offered addictive 2-D game play set against stunning 3-D backgrounds. Thankfully, the sequel features an even more robust adventure, and the addition of online co-op for up to three players makes up for the lack of new features.
The story takes a backseat to game-play in “Trine 2,” so all that really needs to be said is that the three heroes from the first game have been called upon by the ancient Trine artifact to once again save the day! This means they’ll have to navigate tricky levels, solve countless puzzles and defeat hordes of goblins, but that’s all in a day’s work for a hero, now isn’t it?
Players control one character at a time and can switch among them at will with the press of a button. Switching heroes is necessary since each sports unique abilities that are necessary to advance. For example, Pontius, the knight, hacks enemies to bits with his sword, and Amadeus, the wizard, conjures items out of thin air, while Zoya, the thief, can swing around using her handy grappling hook. It’s also possible to upgrade abilities and even gain new ones by collecting orbs.
What really sets this game apart are the physics-based puzzles, most of which can be solved in more than one way. Early puzzles are easy, but some of the later ones can be tough to figure out (especially if you play solo). Teaming up with others online opens up new possibilities, such as levitating a cube that a teammate is standing on or blocking fireballs with the knight’s shield so that others can safely pass by.
Despite some minor flaws, “Trine 2” is a fantastic game that’s fun to play alone and even more enjoyable with others!
SYSTEM: Sony PSN download
ESRB RATING: Everyone
REVIEW RATING: 3.0 stars (out of 5)
Sony has seen much success in its Pixeljunk game series for the PSN, so they decided to make a spinoff of a mini-game found in “Pixeljunk Shooter 2.” Although “Pixeljunk SideScroller” isn’t nearly as bad as “Happy Days” TV show spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi,” it’s still the least engaging of the Pixeljunk bunch.
Retro gaming is definitely in style, and the idea behind this game seems sound: Create a 2-D side-scrolling shooter with vector-like graphics and add a modern electronic soundtrack. So why isn’t “Pixeljunk SideScroller” as popular as the old-school games it’s based on? Simply put, it offers repetitive game-play that’s frustratingly difficult!
Sixteen levels are available to challenge players’ skills and patience as they’re assaulted from all sides by weapons fire, lava and various other hazards. This title definitely replicates some of the more frustrating aspects of older shooters, like having to dodge hundreds of bullets while memorizing every level and then attempting them over and over …
Instead of earning new weapons, players have access to all three from the start and can fire off more powerful versions by charging them up first. I found the basic machine gun to be my favorite when compared to the slow-firing laser and ineffective bombs. Weapons can be upgraded by collecting power-ups, but even when upgraded to the maximum level, I still felt like they weren’t anything special.
Another player can join in on the side-scrolling action, but unlike most co-op games, this title is best enjoyed alone. For starters, both players share the same pool of extra lives. In addition, when one player’s ship is destroyed, the other player is forced to continue alone until he or she finally hits a checkpoint.
In the end, “Pixeljunk SideScroller” doesn’t provide enough fun to make the frustration worthwhile.
REVIEW SCORING SYSTEM
5 stars = Must-Have
4 stars = Very Good
3 stars = Above Average
2 stars = Bargain Bin
1 star = Don’t Bother
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
E10-plus: (Everyone 10 and older)
T: Teen (13 and older)
M: Mature (17 and older)
To find out more about Jeb Haught and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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