In 2017, I picked up Trine, as it was pitched as, “The Lost Vikings, modernized.” When I was growing up, The Lost Vikings was the quintessential cooperative game for the Sega Genesis, and I played the heck out of it with my siblings. So, something claiming to have that in its lineage is definitely going to get my attention.
I got both Trine 3 and Trine 2 reasonably inexpensively, and played through both with my friend John. We played Trine 3 first, so I’ll cover that first below.
Trine 3 seemed like a pretty good game, but it was really short. If I were to hazard a guess, it would be that the change to 3D blew the budget, which cost them on game length. Normally, I wouldn’t fault a game for this, but I felt like the 3D gameplay could have been better. First, the controls were a little wonky, especially for the wizard – moving objects in three dimensions on a game pad was a bit unintuitive, and, for one of the dimensions (and only one), you couldn’t move an object without also moving yourself (which was very clunky). Also, the 3D-ness didn’t really add much in the way of interesting puzzles – there were some really good ones admittedly, but they were a little fewer and farther between than I had hoped.
After playing through Trine 3 (all except the final boss), I moved on to Trine 2 and found a much more polished game. Where Trine 3’s controls were wonky, Trine 2’s controls were very intuitive – granted, there was one less dimension to deal with, but it just worked the way you expected. Trine 2 also had a much more immersive and interesting story. It better infused the story into the game world with paintings and poems that you could find by solving particularly challenging puzzles, and its stylized storybook animations really drove home the storybook feel.
Of the two games, I think Trine 2 more fully captures that Lost Viking feel, even if it did so with more modern sensibilities. There were still a number of puzzles that I felt like we found less-interesting “alternate” solutions for, which was actually a little disappointing. I think this comes from the fact that Trine has a lot more degrees of freedom than the Lost Vikings, and so puzzles with a single specific solution don’t work quite as well.
Overall, I was pretty happy getting the chance to play these games. I, of course, more highly recommend Trine 2, but if that and all its DLC have you wanting just a little bit more (or if you like 3D a lot more that you like 2D), give Trine 3 a shot as well.