Let’s take a look at the power of Trine in action with Frozenbyte’s newest addition to the series.
Trine 4 is the 4th installment of Trine, a puzzle platformer series that first began in 2009. The series game focuses on three characters: Pontius the knight, Amadeus the wizard, and Zoya the thief.
This follows the controversial Trine 3 release which was criticized for its short length and deviation from 2D to 3D.
With the return of 2D, how does Trine 4 bring the series back to it’s traditional style?
Trine 4 starts off with an introduction to Prince Selius who suffers from intensely dark dreams after opening a forbidden book in the academy’s library. This combines with his magical talents to produce monstrous nightmares that manifest around him. Amadeus, Pontius, and Zoya must find Prince Selius and find a way to stop these nightmares while at the same time confronting their own which the prince unconsciously summons.
As a disclaimer, I have not played any Trine games prior to Trine 4 so my experience with the game as a standalone entry will be from a newcomer’s perspective. Which is why I was confused about the power of Trine being referenced but never fully explained. This wasn’t a major let down but I saw this as a missed opportunity to catch players up on the developments of the last three games.
As a player you rotate between the main characters in order to traverse levels by using skills unique to each character. Amadeus conjures boxes and spheres to use as platforms, Zoya can shoot rope arrows to bridge across gaps or to grapple onto ledges, and Pontius can slam the floor to break through surfaces and use a dash to launch objects.
These abilities have numerous orders and combinations they can be placed in to solve puzzles in a variety of ways. Multiplayer lets players use multiple characters at once with slight changes to how the puzzles must be solved.
The presentation of the game is incredible from the music to the graphics which are just so enchanting to look at. When I first saw the presentation for this game at E3, I was captivated by the fantastical setting which used sound, lighting, and it’s artstyle to convey the magical world of these characters. The forests, caves, and castle look incredible with their lighting and level of detail that is often overlooked in platformers. It was also nice to just pause and look around since there was so much to take in.
Trine’s atmosphere hooked me quickly and the puzzle solving motivated me to push through the beginning levels quickly. My characters also unlocked abilities that expanded how they interacted with the world and surpassed obstacles. The characters make little quips throughout parts of the level but for the most part it was just the charming music and sound effects. I wish the sound tracks had more variety throughout the levels since it could get stagnant at parts, especially if you are stuck on a puzzle.
Checkpoints aren’t always clear so sometimes if you have to close the game and jump back in you’ll be where you left off but other times you will be three stages behind.
Digesting the Soup
There were definitely levels that would go on for a bit too long with a thin plot explaining why you are trying to get to the end. This lack of incentive was not aided by the fact that some puzzles would not match the momentum or lack of momentum in the story.
Trine 4 is divided into 5 acts and there are multiple levels per map with the ability to replay them by heading to its point on the map. But because of the length of the levels, I was diligent about getting every collectible to avoid having to replay them. Though I would find out later that I managed to miss some that were well hidden. Collectibles work as separate items or as parts. You have to carefully look for alcoves or ledges that lead to these collectibles which can be reached after solving a puzzle. These would take ten minutes at times to figure out and I would often be close to giving them up. While they aren’t necessary, the map indicates if you are missing them.I could leave them any time but it would be a drag to have to play the whole level again just to get to that section so I would try to solve it the first time through.
Levels contained combat at certain points that became repetitive because it was almost the exact same battle each time so I wish enemies were spread throughout the level more naturally rather than just at one point.
Besides the checkpoint scarcity and lack of visibility, Trine 4 is welcoming to new players and seemingly has a good amount of challenges for experienced ones. The set up and themes of the story are great though it takes a while to see them fleshed out.
Overall, I think the single player experience goes from good to great at times but can tell that the multiplayer aspect is where this game shines. It was hard to find people online to play with but the few times I did were very exciting because it added a new dimension to the game that made the characters feel like they were designed to actually compliment each other. My complaints are more about the minor details and I think this games positives outweigh the negatives.
Sense of Adventure
The game also received an extra level as free DLC which you can explore after clearing a certain point in the story. It’s nice to see some post release support for the game and has me wondering what Modus Games might add going forward.
A review code for Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince was provided by Modus Games for the purpose of this review.