Tuesday, February 4, 2014

If Zelda II and Trine 2 had a Love Child

So, I've been playing Trine lately. Trine 2: Director's Cut on the Wii U, but also Trine on the PC (though Trine 2 is the better game). If you don't know about Trine, it's a side scrolling Action Platformer with physics puzzles and beautiful graphics. So beautiful in fact that it might be the best looking Side Scroller there is.

In the game you basically complete a series of linear levels, which are full of hidden secrets. You have three different characters at your disposal. The knight uses sworld, shield and a hammer. The thief uses a bow and a grappling hook. And the wizard can create and levitate objects. You switch between the characters (or play in coop) to overcome obstacles and beat hordes of enemies.

In the levels you earn experience. Some can be gotten from defeating enemies, but most of it is all over the levels. Some easy to get, some cleverly hidden or out of your reach. You have to make good use of your abilities to get it all. With experience you can upgrade the abilities of your characters for some crazy stuff. My favorite is the thief, who gets Fire, Ice, Bomb and Gravity Arrows. Gravity Arrows create a low gravity sphere and Bomb Arrows are as devastating as the knight's hammer. Firing Bomb Arrows into a gravity sphere can cause a rain of bombs on your enemies, it's a lot of fun.

What's also nice is that there's usually not the one single solution for an obstacle or a puzzle, but many different. This is a nice touch, because the straight forward puzzles in Zelda can become boring quickly. In Trine there are usually different ways to solve a problem, which is more fun and creative. The Zelda team should really look into this.


Also, while playing Trine I warmed up even more for the idea of getting a second side scrolling Zelda game (not counting the CDi) games. I already talked last year about the possibility of a Zelda II remake, but after playing Trine 2 I even more so think that a Zelda II remake or a new Zelda game in the same style, would be a great idea.

I like how Trine handled the experience and the upgrades. That's a fun system. First of all, there would be no grinding for experience. Experience from enemies is a one time thing. So, even if you replay the levels, you won't get more experience from the killing the same enemy in the same spot again. And the experience hidden throughout the levels goes very well with the idea of collectible items in Zelda.

So, instead of killing those Octoroks in the swamps for two hours, you keep exploring the caves and dungeons for more experience. The experience then does not increase some boring stats, but it offers upgrades for your items. And not just one upgrade like in A Link Between Worlds, but many different.

The Bow can have Quick Draw for shooting faster, upgrades for shooting two or three arrows at once, Fire Arrows, Ice Arrows, Bomb Arrows and maybe even Light Arrows late in the game.

The shield can have the Mirror Shield, a Magnetic Shield and a Frost Shield as upgrades. The Magnetic Shield could basically replace the Magnetic Glove from Oracle of Seasons / Four Swords, it attracts and repels metallic objects. Also, in Trine 2 the knight can use the shield like a parachute to glide through the air. Maybe that's also something that could work here.

Bombs could have Super Bombs, Water Bombs and Bombchus as upgrades. So, you would get a bomb that is twice the size, works under water and travels on walls. The Hookshot could have the Longshot, the Clawshot and the Switch Hook as upgrades. The latter replaces you with an enemy like in Oracle of Ages. And an item similar to the Cane of Somaria could replace the skills of the wizard.

Well, Nintendo shouldn't blatantly rip-off Trine (even though Trine borrows quite some ideas from Zelda). But the main idea still is that we could get a beautiful looking side scrolling Zelda game, which utilizes different items instead of just sword and shield. I don't think that Zelda II has to stay the black sheep and the only Zelda game of its kind (again not counting the CDi games). There's lots of potential for a good new Zelda game in this format.

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