‘Delightful puzzles’ pretty much go hand in hand with Trine
When I was first sold on Trine, all I needed to hear is that it was vaguely similar to The Lost Vikings. I sought it out that very day.
Over time, the magic of Trine kind of waned a bit, and the dream almost came crashing down entirely with Trine 3. I had the chance to play the first six levels of Trine 4, and was pleasantly surprised at how Frozenbyte seems to have turned things around.
The first three levels of Trine are what I’d call a perfect tutorial.
Just in case you aren’t familiar with the series, you’re basically taking control of three different characters in a one-at-a-time fashion (or, in multiplayer, four at a time). The inaugural stages place you in the role of a wizard, a warrior, and a thief, who can conjure objects, battle, and scamper around in that order. Now I’m vastly oversimplifying things, as all of their powers come with various nuances (there’s different objects to create, a stomping ability that can break objects/a shield that can reflect light for puzzles, and rope to swing on/arrows to shoot), but you get the gist. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking: yes, it allows for a large degree of player freedom in terms of divining solutions.
After the pleasantries of the tutorial are over, the trio must unite once again for another quest: protect a hapless prince who basically called upon the power of a medieval version of the Necronomicon. It was at this time that I remembered how much I missed the playful banter of the cast and the general carefree nature of the series. The art style, score, and sound design all come together like a symphony. Just look at any screenshot of Trine 4: it looks lovely, right?
It’s pretty much impossible to make this game look bad, to say nothing of how clever some of the puzzles are. The act of keeping things pared down with three characters ensures that there aren’t any “multiple hour-long” complete brain-scratchers, but at the same time, you will need to reasonably perform their actions at a brisk puzzle-platformer pace. It’s a great middle ground to be in compared to games that go overboard in either direction. There’s a tempered feel to the boss fights, even if Frozenbyte does throw out a few too many adds (additional enemies) on top of the main baddie to mess with the pacing a bit (it’s the one thing I’ll be keeping my eye on when the final build arrives).
As a series, Trine‘s greatest strength lies in its evergreen blueprint. I know people who are just now discovering this series a decade after it debuted and loving it. If Trine 4 can consistently dish out deep puzzles and aesthetic wonder, it’ll be in very good shape when it arrives this October.