Trine 2: Goblin Menace DLC – Having A Gander
Trine was a clever and beautiful platform physics puzzler made by Frozenbyte that came out in 2009. It was not perfect, but it was well-made and well-written and should be in the library of anyone who likes platform and puzzle games. Trine 2 came out late 2011, and offered more puzzles, more abilities, a new story and tweaked gameplay, including an improved combat engine. And now in 2012 we have gotten the first big DLC expansion pack: Goblin Menace.
The Trine games seem inspired by The Lost Vikings from the 90s, and offer a nice dose of humour and likable characters to go with your physics and your puzzles. And there is a lot of physics and puzzles. Now I will apologise up-front to anyone who has not played Trine 2, as the rest of this article will largely assume that you have, because why else would you look into the DLC for it? PS! Small spoilers.
Goblin Menace starts shortly after the end of Trine 2, and uses that story as a jumping-off-point rather than directly continuing it. The goblins are back with a new king, and a plan to defeat the humans and put our three heroes out of the picture while doing so. They kidnap Amadeus’s (the wizard’s) wife and so starts the quest to rescue her and defeat whatever nefarious plan the goblins are devising.
The DLC/expansion offer 6 new levels to add to the original 13. Each level features very different environments and visuals, and often some extra touches to make the scenery and puzzling a little extra tricky and varied. Like inside the worm the ‘ground’ is not as solid as elsewhere, which makes working with boxes and planks not as reliable.
I ended up getting Kitesail Shield as my first tier 4.
You start with all the skills you had at the end of the Trine 2 main campaign, and there are 6 new ones to pick from: One new tier 3 and an extra expensive tier 4 for each character, the latter ones being locked for the first level. This screen above is taken a little bit into the game, and I had already purchased Magnetic Shield for Pontius and Stealth for Zoya (in case I wanted to get Stealth Disguise later, which I didn’t). The skills I had to start with was: Monster Levitation, 4 Conjured Items, Planks, Frost Arrow, Fire/Explosive Arrow, Frost Shield, Fire Sword, Hammer Throw, Hammer Explosion and Charge.
Since the new skills are rather expensive, and you only have 6 new levels to get them; there are a lot more experience potions around. Some of them can be really tricky to get to, as they require a specific skill or skill-set. Though quite often you manage to pull something together with what you have, and then afterwards wonder if that was how you were supposed to do it, which is a quite common feeling in the Trine games. I managed to gain and spend 19 skill points during the 6 levels. I don’t think I had any left over at the end.
The art direction in this game is still amazing.
Amadeus probably has the smallest changes to his skill-set. Yes, the magnetised boxes are handy, but they’re not as big a game-changer as the other two have gotten. If you are going for all the potions you can get, you will need the magnetised stuff, but with Pontius’s Magnetic Shield you can manage to create a permanently magnetised box even without Amadeus’s skill, it just requires more trickery.
They do seem to have nerfed the trick I was using towards the end of the main campaign where I placed a small plank on top of a small box or rectangular stone and used that to very carefully fly around. I tried that in the very first level of Goblin Menace, and lost balance instantly, no matter how careful I was. Ah well, I had a feeling that was a bit of an exploit anyway.
The water effects are also really nice.
Zoya has become my #1 combatant, as her explosive arrows are just too useful, especially against bosses. Seriously, if you didn’t get explosive arrows during the main campaign, you were missing out. And because of the grappling hook and agility she possesses she is generally my favourite for the platforming too. This also meant she died the most, as she was out in front the most.
The Low Gravity Field she gets is tremendously useful though. It fires like an arrow, and needs to hit something solid to activate. In the beginning I thought this limited its usefulness, but I quickly learned to throw a box into the air with Amadeus, and then fast-switch to fire the arrow and create a field pretty much anywhere I wanted. Amadeus can also make boxes and planks essentially float in the field by giving them a slight upwards throw before releasing, meaning you can basically create your own platforms.
The low gravity bubble is eating a barrel.
Pontius feels like he has a lot of added utility now. He is still a competent fighter, but the Kitesail shield often makes it easier for him to get to new areas and collect potions than either of the other two. It also lets him rise faster and higher on streams of air, which is useful at times. And when you combine Zoya’s low gravity with Amadeus’s floating boxes you can really get high up before you start kiting around.
I mostly used the Magnetic Shield to create magnetised boxes so I could upgrade other stuff before Amadeus, but I’m sure the launch ability can be used to great effect with the cannonballs.
And of course you still have the hammer throw, which is the most useful breaker ability in the game, especially with the explosion upgrade. Zoya’s explosive arrows are faster and more accurate, but they don’t work underwater, nor is the blast radius as big.
Very organic, wouldn’t you say?
I didn’t try out Zoya’s Stealth Disguise, and honestly I don’t even recall the description. I never used Stealth, since this does not seem like the game for it. And Amadeus’s Monster Prison also went unused because I don’t use him in combat unless I have no choice.
So yeah, you’ll mainly be fighting goblins this time around. The ones with shields and spears return from the main campaign, but there are also ones carrying cannons, undead ones, half-digested ones and magic ones. And there are some interesting new bosses, and annoying wyverns.
I would say they’ve turned the difficulty up a notch for the expansion, both when it comes to combat and puzzles. You really have to utilise everything you learned in the main campaign, and employ all your knowledge of physics and large amount of blatant experimentation and sometimes just fast reflexes to get past the various puzzles. And to get access to all the hidden goodies, if which there are quite a lot.
I guess we’re on Arrakis now.
All that’s really left to say is that if you liked Trine 2, you will most likely enjoy Goblin Menace. It’s more of the same with a few new twists. I felt frustration when things wouldn’t work as I wanted them to, I felt so smart when I figured out a tricky puzzle and I felt amused disbelief as I got something to work that I really didn’t think would.
You can find both games and the expansion over on Steam at reasonable prices. As a final note, if you want to compare strategies, tactics, sheer dumb luck and funny exploits, feel free to comment. I am also open to playing co-op if anyone wants.
Posted on October 8, 2012, in Games, Having a gander, Thoughts and tagged DLC, Expansion, Frozenbyte, Goblin Menace, impressions, indie, opinion, PC, platformer, puzzler, SPOILERS, Trine 2, videogames. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.