Trine is a series I’d never gotten around to playing. I remember purchasing the Enchanted Edition on Wii U and just never bothering to play it. And now I’m kicking myself because clearly, Trine is excellent. Recently I was able to spend some hands-on time with Trine 4 The Nightmare Prince ahead of release and got to play through six levels of magical, character swapping platforming.
Developer Frozenbyte told me that I didn’t need any knowledge of past Trine titles to enjoy Trine 4 which was nice to hear. However, it was made clear that if you’re a Trine veteran, there’s going to be plenty of extras just for you.
Trine 4 sees the heroes Amadeus the Wizard, Pontius the Knight, and Zoya the Thief reunited by a request to help Prince Selius — the titular Nightmare Prince — who is suffering monstrous nightmares that come to life.
Oh, and they’re threatening to destroy the whole world.
Trine 4 Hands-On
Things kick off high in the snowy mountains with Amadeus off at a wizard’s convention. Pontius is busy taking care of a haunted manor and Zoya is, well, Zoya is stealing some stuff.
The first three levels of Trine 4 serve as tutorials for each of the characters. You’ll learn how to conjure cubes and levitate objects, fire arrows, attach ropes, bash debris and use Pontious shield to reflect light.
The crux of Trine 4 is that each of the characters has their own skills and abilities that need to be used in co-operation to solve platforming puzzles. Things start out pretty straightforward. You’ll need to swing between gaps, use boxes to climb onto ledges etc.
Trine 4 cleverly signposts new mechanics and new ideas through simple puzzles and slowly ramps up the difficulty so players have ‘AHA!’ moments on their own. The fact that there’s very little hand-holding is welcome and makes Trine 4 all the more enjoyable.
Learn by Playing
By the time I reached the end of the sixth level I’d unlocked new skills and was swapping between all three characters frequently to make my way through the fantasy world. This included using ice arrows to create a frozen platform or freeze a moving apparatus, shoving boxes through walls of crystal, dashing over gaps and more.
It’s especially satisfying when you need to use multiple abilities spread across multiple characters and solve a puzzle without any issues.
Trine 4 also caters for multiple playstyles as nearly every puzzle can be solved in a number of ways. It makes it worth playing through levels multiple times to see if you can work out the number of solutions available to you.
Replayability is also important in order to collect potions and skill points to level your heroes up. In the preview build, I wasn’t able to unlock any abilities beyond those I was given, but being a completionist, I certainly went back through the levels a few times looking for secrets.
Single or Co-op?
Frozenbyte has also designed Trine 4 to be played in co-op and supports drop-in/drop-out play. The best part is that puzzles in Trine 4 are dynamic and will change based on how many people are playing.
So whether you play alone or with friends, Trine 4 is going to give you an appropriate challenge.
Aside from the incredibly polished gameplay, Trine 4 is stunningly gorgeous. The visuals look ripped straight from a storybook and are bright, colourful and overflowing with whimsy. The characters move fluidly and the environments are filled with little details that help bring the world to life.
Looking (and sounding) GOOD
Helping the visuals bring Trine 4 to life is the audio. The voice acting is flawless and reinforced the storybook nature of the game. And the soundtrack is suitably jaunty and catchy.
While I was only able to play the first six levels of Trine 4, I’m really keen to see what the rest of the game has to offer. Frozenbyte has clearly gotten the formula of these games down to a science and they seem to be on the verge of releasing another classic.
Trine 4 The Nightmare Prince will be available on PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One on October 8, 2019.