By: Jeff Cater
Once more, our three heroes have been reluctantly summoned by the Trine to save… the Trine! And life as we, er, they know it! Though a departure from the last two titles of the series in terms of mechanics, you can rest assured that Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power is still very much the Trine we love, just a tad different.
Having three different characters known for using specific abilities in the last two games was difficult enough, but the reworking of the game structure for this title is enough that even fans of the last two will have to get used to certain things. You still switch between heroes with R1/L1 and jump with “X,” but learning the trickery of each character has a bit more of a learning curve.
Amadeus the Wizard, for example, feels the most alien this time around because we aren’t tracing the boxes to use his ability anymore. Instead, we simply press Triangle to have him summon a box right away. Zoya plays pretty fluidly and, unlike Amadeus, has a main ability bound to Square. So switching between characters and trying to remember specific abilities on the fly can be a tad frustrating.
Amadeus is especially difficult to use effectively now as well, because placing a box accurately in the 3D space requires more than a bit of thumb finesse and trigger toggling.
As a series, Trine has always featured lush visuals with extreme color use. Trine 3 is no different, and quite often you will lose yourself staring into the environments admiring the shadowing and fog effects. Not to mention that the character animation is incredibly smooth, aside from when Zoya’s feet are barely touching the ground while dangling from her rope.
Other than that little itty bitty doink, Trine 3 is one of the best looking titles on the market right now. Each character has shine and love just poured all over them, and they’re expressive not only in animation but voice as well.
It’s really hard to put into words just how pretty Trine 3 is. It’s like… a fairytale in your head has manifested itself onto your screen. That’s about all I got. The game will constantly be in a state of “WOW-ing” you.
The voice actors from the previous games also lend their talent for Trine 3. Whether you’re stuck at a puzzle or simply moseying around, the characters all quip back and forth. Each interaction between our heroes and sometimes the narrator is a light hearted and humorous affair.
Filling the audioscape is the usual epic-with-a-touch-of-whimsy scores Trine has incorporated over the years, and it is still supremely pleasing.
I have to put this up front, but the online multiplayer feature that the last game had is absent here. That being said, there is still multiplayer if you have a friend over or some siblings clawing for a game pad. So they I got that out of the way we can get to the real core of the deviation that Frozenbyte took the series in with this installment.
Both Trine and Trine 2 were sidescrolling adventure games with puzzle elements. While the puzzles remain in the game (and are quite good), now we are exploring 3D environments that are huge and expansive in their own way, while still being just linear enough that the entirety of the game has great pacing.
You now access levels via an overworld map, and then scoure the levels for pieces of “Trineangles” in order to unlock the next stage. The puzzles are very well thought out, and they feature some pretty snazzy manipulation of physics. Sometimes a challenge level will pop up, showcasing just one character and focusing exclusively on their abilities.
These changes might be a bit off putting at first, having to collect coins essentially to get to the next stage, but there are literally so many of these in plain sight and easily accessible places that it really becomes a non-issue very early on.
You will be far too interested in the acrobatics of Zoya, and utilizing her grappling hook to anchor a bridge together, or slamming enemies with the shield of the knight Pontius. Even revisiting levels to grab Trineangles you are missing is fun because it means you’ve obviously missed either a puzzle or a hidden area.
If you can overcome the sketchy controls, Trine 3: The Artifact of Power is a must buy. For fans of the series, this one changed things up quite a bit, but as stated above there’s still a lot if not even more Trine in this game. It’s just evolving, and that’s wonderful. Good on you guys, Frozenbyte!