The Trine series has brought us a unique way to play action adventure side-scrollers. I personally couldn’t get into the first two games. Not that they weren’t good, but I never seemed to have the patience to actively learn the intricate ways of switching between characters on a moment’s notice to solve the clever puzzles. Then I saw Trine 3 hit Steam – in Early Access. Nonetheless, I kept my eye on the game, even though my faith in Early Access is basically drained. Much to my cynicism, Frozenbyte released the game and I got my hands on a copy. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by what I played.
The heroes, Amadeus, Pontius, and Zoya are back against their will. The Trine artifact brings the three heroes together after a much needed vacation. It shatters and an ancient power escapes bringing darkness to the world. A shard of the Trine artifact will guide the three heroes to the remaining pieces and stop the evil from causing more damage.
I enjoy the story, which isn’t very original, but I love it when trilogies have the protagonists relaxing in their own lives between the second and third installments. The characters are fun enough to get a real taste of their personalities.
Frozenbyte has gone a step further bringing the third installment to gamers. Trine 3 is now a 3D Action Platformer. No more 2D shenanigans, and personally, I feel as though it is the step in the right direction. You always want a new installment in a franchise to change in a way that reinvigorates the series in a way that makes it feel new and nostalgic. Trine 3 does just that with bright colors and a much bigger world to explore.
The game still functions much like previous titles. All three characters fight differently and have different skills to utilize. With the added dimension the heroes interact with the world a bit differently. Some rather well, some take getting used to. Clever puzzles are back and are a bit more challenging this time around. Playing by yourself can be a challenge because as you progress through the story, puzzles get harder to solve because of the limited capabilities of a single character on screen. Co-Op is back and I highly suggest you play it with a friend, or even a random person online. The game is just more fun that way.
Character abilites have remained unchanged. Pontius uses his shield to block objects and push things into place while offering a way to fight enemies at close range. Zoya is your nimble rogue who uses her grappling hook to swing across gaps or pull down objects too high to reach. Then you have Amadeus who creates boxes out of thin air and can levitate them and similar objects around him. Utilizing all the of the heroes’ abilities will solve a wide variety of puzzles and combat situations. While the game is rather repetitive, the way you play and interact with the different characters is what keeps this game feeling fresh with every new level.
My biggest complaint is the collect-athon system of progression. You must collect trinkets scattered about each level to unlock new levels and it can grow a bit tiresome. It is much like the attempted reboot of Prince of Persia on the Xbox 360 years ago. This can be a gameplay factor that can deter new players and even vets of the franchise. It doesn’t break the game, but it can get a bit frustrating when you miss one trinket and have no idea where it is.
Visually speaking, Trine 3 is one of the best looking indie games I have seen this year. It doesn’t have a pretentious feel to it and it is very confident on what kind of fantasy world it wants to be. The visuals are supplemented by a great soundtrack provided by Ari Pulkkinen.
Trine 3 controls work moderately well in the new 3D environment but the learning curve can feel pretty steep after you complete the three initial tutorials. With that being said, the new level design is great. Levels are varied and unique, something I am very happy to see because having dull levels would have ruined everything Trine 3 has to offer.
I really liked Trine 3. While it didn’t blow my mind, it keeps me coming back unlike the previous titles. It has some questionable gameplay decisions (collecting trinkets) and it isn’t without a number of bugs or seemingly ridiculous puzzle solving requirements. It is also pitifully short. The game is pretty balanced and a joy to play, and I highly recommend you get it on Steam.