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Trine 2 preview: Brains and beauty

Justin McElroy

The first things you're going to notice are the visuals. Don't feel bad, happens to everybody.

But while you're ogling Trine 2's look, you may just miss that its most significant improvements are in how it's playing with your mind.

Gallery: Trine 2 (E3) | 10 Photos

The big idea is still the same: a wizard, rogue and knight navigate 2D environments, each using their unique skills (the knight's shield deflects, the rogue has a grappling hook) to navigate platforming puzzles. You can switch between the three or get a co-op pal to help.

Unfortunately, one member of the merry band was ruining things for everyone else. Namely: way too many puzzles could be uncreatively solved using the wizards knack for levitating on-screen objects. While he hasn't lost the touch, it's no longer the all-purpose Slap Chop of puzzle solving it used to be.

In one of the stages I played, I had to heat up a cauldron to create bubbles I could ride to a higher level (don't worry, it makes sense in context). Noticing a column of flame above, I moved a nearby portal next to it with the wizard's magic (OK, yeah, it came in handy this time) and watched as a column of flame leapt out of its corresponding twin portal. By moving the second portal I was able to redirect the flame, heating up the cauldron and propelling me to victory.

In another, I needed to grow a plant using a poorly located stream of water. By standing under it as the knight, I was able to raise my shield and splash the flow onto one of the plants, growing it into a really handy platform.

And, oh, how gorgeous that water looked.

OK, OK, I can't pretend I didn't fall prey to ogling Trine 2. The thing is lovely, from its fluidly animated leads to its ... well, its fluids. It's a shame that "visual feast" has been overused into irrelevance, because this is the art design equivalent to the carnival-colored imaginary feast the Lost Boys eat in Hook.

When Trine 2 releases later this year, you're bound to hear about its smooth animations and vibrant pallette. Just make sure you remember there's a brain in there too.

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