Trine’d So hard And Got So Far

HIGH A return to form for the series.

LOW Missing some of the quirky weirdness of past installments.

WTF How is that seal so cute with its Midsommar head dress?

The Trine series has had a bumpy ride. After the first two entries built their platforming action on inventive physics-based puzzles in a 2D environment, the devs switched to 3D exploration and garnered some pushback from the fanbase. Those concerns appear to have been resolved for this, the fourth installment.

Trine 4 continues the adventures of Amadeus, Zoya, and Pontius — they’re a wizard, rogue and knight that have been fused together by a freak accident. The player can swap between them at any time, so finishing each level relies on their unique abilities. Amadeus can summon objects to access higher ground and create bridges, Zoya can use her arrows to freeze, set on fire, or tether things together, and Pontius’s brawn and shield deflection is used for combat and light puzzles. In this iteration the trio must track down an errant prince, but everything is not as it seems.

As mentioned, Trine 4 returns to the series’ traditional side-scrolling 2D view, but using lavish 3D models and backgrounds. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous with lush alpine views giving way to dreamlike castles and gloomy burrows.

The gameplay continues to set the player up for platforming puzzles and light combat based on the synergy of the trio’s abilities. The spin this time is that a number of the mechanics are streamlined, while the multiplayer aspects have been expanded. This manifests itself mainly in the way the Wizard controls — previously it was possible to generate malleable objects that led to some lateral solutions, but now the shapes and sizes are predefined. This removes the quirky charm of completely botching a puzzle but still making it through, but at least now the routes (in singleplayer, anyway) feel prescribed.

As for the multiplayer, in Trine 2 having a partner was an exploit of sorts, as it allowed players to take advantage of broken traits and practically fly through levels instead of engaging with the challenges. These loopholes have now been closed, and section feels like it’s meant to whether one, two,  or three players are attempting it. In fact, in some instances adding players feels like increasing the difficulty.

Playing with a partner, there were so many moments where I felt like we hadn’t found the right solution, but a combination of something like bouncing water off of Pontius’s shield onto a platform floated by Amadeus onto a plant at just the right angle would bloom a petal that acted as a step to jump from, or some similar variation. It’s kind of messy and perfect at the same time.

The levels themselves are broken up into bite-sized portions that regularly save, so it’s easy to put Trine 4 down and then pick it back up whenever. It is also, as a whole, a great deal longer than I was expecting. I’m not sure whether this is a good thing, but anyone hanging their hat on the story might find that it drags. On the other hand, those who are in it for the moment-to-moment play will enjoy the elaboration on the series’ basic skills and some real head-scratchers in later areas thanks to abilities like being able to levitate platforms, summon multiple objects, and duplicate shield deflections.

Fans of Trine‘s previous entries may feel like this entry is a bit overfamiliar, but for those coming to the series for the first time, Trine 4 is a good place to start. This sequel might not reinvent its wheel, but in this case that’s not a bad thing.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Frozenbyte and published by Modus Games. It is currently available on PC, PS4, Switch, and XBO. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the XBO-X. Approximately 10 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed4 hours of play were spent in multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E10+ and contains Fantasy Violence. The game is mild in terms of violence, there are some darker themes but nothing that pre-teens will have a problem with.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The game is fully accessible without sound. The text can be adjusted and makes a significant impact on subtitle sizes, fonts colors cannot be changed. No audio cues are needed for play.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable.

AJ Small
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