Most of all, Trine 2 just feels a lot more polished than the original. The narration and dialogue that ties it all together is smarter, funnier and more engaging, while the storyline is actually quite intriguing – not something we can say of many 2D platform games. The levels are also long and distinctive. Whether you’re pushing through a foggy swamp, knocking goblins off their fortifications and rearranging pipes to give a box a lift, or fighting through a dungeon filled with traps and water puzzles, each sequence gives you new and interesting treats. Add in the way the heroes upgrade over time, with a skill tree that opens new weapons, attacks and abilities, and it’s not a game you’re not likely to get bored of quickly.
Multiplayer is the other great appeal of Trine 2. The PC game supported three players either online or on a single screen, and this carried over to the console versions, including the Wii U Director’s Cut. When you can combine the powers of, say, the wizard and the thief at once you can open up alternative solutions to some of the worst puzzles, and while this can leave one player stranded, there’s always a way to get them back into the action (in fact the game sees to do it automatically when needed).
Playing Trine 2 in co-op mode reveals what a brilliant and sophisticated sandbox it can be. You can see the other players doing things you might never have considered – even if they’re pointless, self-defeating or simply bizarre. You have more time to get to grips with new ways of slaughtering spiders and goblins, whether it’s using your wizardly levitation powers to move them into traps, fiery blasts or sawblades, or simply sneaking up on them while your allies have them distracted. Basically, it’s a blast, and one of the finest co-op experiences this side of Gears of War 3’s Horde mode, FEAR 3 or Left 4 Dead.
Trine 2 is a great game on any system, but the new Wii U version should stand up as a shining example of how to do ports right, enhancing the experience in a way that neither feels gimmicky or half-baked. As a bonus, the Director’s Cut includes the new Goblin Menace expansion, which becomes available when you finish the main game, and the option to play the game entirely on the Wii U Pad screen, which mirrors the TV display, is another real plus. Given the bargain price, it should be the first thing on your Wii U eShop shopping list.
Read more: Best games of 2013