|Platforms||Windows, Wii U|
|Genre||More platforms, more puzzles, more menace|
|Buy from Steam|
Trine 2 was a fun game, and its simple but challenging formula of platforming meets cooperative puzzling should be pretty easy to extend. Thus enter Goblin Menace, the first DLC available for the late 2011 release. We don't cover a lot of downloable content here, and most of it is for games like Mass Effect or Borderlands where the developer has so many more ideas for new characters and storylines that just couldn't fit in the original game. Frozenbyte, on the other hand, is less concerned about introducing some new class to play as or world to save, but they do seem full to brim with ideas of completely awesome and insane locations to send our heroes.
Goblin Menace was released in September and can be purchased for $8 on Steam. The DLC was not released on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, but will be available on the Wii U along with the full Trine 2 game when the system is launched next month. Two Steam keys for Trine 2: Goblin Menace were given to us by Frozenbyte.
It's quite refreshing to find downloadable content that feels more like an expansion rather than a superfluous microtransaction. Trine 2: Goblin Menace is an example of DLC that adds significantly to the game and feels like a release in response to public opinion, rather than content that created along with the game and omitted just to further squeeze customers.
For starters, Goblin Menace contains an entirely new story arc. It's a side arc, but still self-contained with its own story and cutscene presentation. Six fresh, gorgeous levels with new enemies and puzzle types are the heft of the expansion and they're all rounded out by a new level of player abilities (obtainable with the new experience points). As we played through the campaign, I noted clear efforts to further differentiate the areas and playable characters, while continuing a strong element of balance. For example, the warrior Pontius is still lumbering, but he finally has enough movement abilities to feel fun, and that's important for the user experience. (And who doesn't want to sail through the air with a shield?)
Each of the new levels are as vibrant as ever. We get taken to: the castle and its nearby surroundings, a desert and its ancient ruins, the fleshy innards of an ancient monster, a chilly dragon-infested goblin town, and finally to bright flying islands before the final boss encounter. Each area is absurdly distinct while remaining uncompromisingly gorgeous in the manner we've grown to expect from the Trine series. In particular, the soft dunes and realistic shadows of the desert as well as the fantastical creativity and imagination in the airborne sections stand out as visual standard excellence. As mentioned earlier and just as importantly, the game is still really fun, with only positive additions.
All in all, Goblin Menace is just more of the Trine 2 experience, executed bigger and better. At a base price of $15 for the base game and $8 for Goblin Menace, the prices feel more than fair. The multiplayer experience adds considerable depth and replayability to the game, significantly boosting value. While I encountered a few bugs, the checkpoints are frequent and checkpoint system robust enough to reduce those frustrations (and Frozenbyte was immediately hard at work in seeking reports from the community and swiftly pushing patches). It's a bit disappointing to know that Trine will be retired soon (after the release of Trine 2 on Wii U), but I'll be looking forward to what they can cook up on future titles, and wish them the best on starting their first truly independent publishing efforts.
For the last few years, I've been keeping a list of games in my head that, while they may not always be the most impressive games on every front, they can almost be defined solely by their excellent level design. Psychonauts immediately springs to mind, with its Napoleon level and its Godzilla level and its milkman level and on and on, almost all instant classics. Hitman: Blood Money, too: Mardi Gras and the Playboy Mansion and the White House. All iconic and can instantly bring back a lot of great memories. Trine 2 may now have entered this rather exclusive list.
Look, there's nothing more disgusting than jumping around inside a giant monster, leaping off... bouncy, dripping things and wallowing in slime, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't kind of awesome too. Then there's a castle level with dragons flying from the background into the foreground(!) and posing an immediate threat. And these are brand new additions in the Goblin Menace expansion. Trine 2 and Goblin Menace hit all the old fantasy cliche locations but still make them memorable and fun.
Along with new locales, Goblin Menace also introduces some new character techniques that make playing as Pontius the knight just a bit more enjoyable. They're not huge upgrades, but it's clear this content is less about throwing tons of brand new ways to solve the same old puzzles again, and more about just giving you a few more options to tackle Frozenbyte's seemingly endless slew of well-crafted head scratchers. You'll be surprised at how far a few boxes, switches, arrows, and platforms will take you, especially in Goblin Menace.
Enjoy our exclusive Goblin Menace gallery of gorgeous screenshots.