Co-op in Trials of Azra is simple and easy to initiate. At any point in the game a second local player can press enter to join in. When Sam takes control of an enemy, bam, it's player two's time to shine. Your co-op friend has complete control of the game at this point, so much so that the camera even follows them around. A key difference is that you can still move Sam while the possessed enemy is active, cutting out a lot of the back and forth found in single player. Co-op simplifies many of the puzzles and just makes the whole thing more seamless.
True, expansive cooperation is a little inconvenient in Trials of Azra, however. The camera sticks with whoever is in control of the enemy until they press a button to give up control. When the camera scrolls away, Sam gets a tiny window in the corner of the screen that shows his immediate surroundings. It's not much, just enough to let you step on a switch or hop up a few platforms. Even though Sam can move, he really shouldn't, since his death means the end of the level. This puts a huge cap on multiplayer and prevents much exploration or timing-based puzzles. Most levels don't require true split screen, though, so this small window mechanic is enough to get the job done.
The puzzles in Trials of Azra tend to work themselves out, making this more of a platform puzzle game than the reverse. Once you get the layout of a level it's pretty easy to see what needs to be done. Getting enemy bodies in place and pulling off the solution is another story, one that can lead to a little frustration thanks to the game's less-than-precise control scheme. When you do mess up, a quick level reset puts things back in the right place, letting you try again without losing too much progress.
Trials of Azra is the sort of indie game that sits right on the edge of novelty. Everything about it just works, there's no painfully missing feature or obviously broken mechanics, but no wildly innovative must-try gimmicks to catch your attention, either. The puzzles are well thought out, and co-op is serviceable if a bit on the simple side. You'll keep coming back to the game over the course of a few days or weeks, completing a handful of levels at a time, slowly making progress towards the end. Enjoyable on your own, a bit better with a friend, and all around a puzzle platformer worth playing.
The Co-Op Experience: Two local players control the main character and possessed enemies.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.