Trine 4 Review: It's a kind of magic.



I am staring up at the platform I am trying to get to, it is too high. This box I found is not enough to reach. Adding a second one on top might do the trick? No.. still not good enough. But maybe I can fit it on the platform itself. Using my magic powers I lift the box up and push it on the platform. The weigh of it pushes it down enough to reach the ledge and climb up. I push the box off and slowly raise up to the next challenge. Acid drips from the ceiling.. I am going to need a shield I think to myself, I am going to need a friend to help this old wizard.

Frozenbyte and Modus games are bringing back the 4th installment of Trine. The puzzle platformer that follows the adventures of three unlikely heroes Amadeus the Wizard, Pontius the Knight, and Zoya the Thief. A quibbling bunch of quirky characters who have learned that each of their unique skills makes their trio an unstoppable force.




Trine 4 might be the latest adventure in an ongoing series but you do not need to have played any of the previous installments in order to understand how to play or comprehend the story line. From the very start, the game lets you play with each character separately in an introductory level. You quickly learn the basic controls for each of them and gain a grasp on how to solve the puzzles in the game.Puzzles are the meat of Trine and each of the main protagonists bring tools to solve the challenges you will encounter. How you will solve them however is up to you and there are multiple ways to get around them. 

It is pumpkin season.. So travel in style.
After a lengthy retirement of their last adventure together, our heroes are called into action once more. They are called upon to find and rescue Prince Selius, who seems to have gone missing. They quickly learn that the dear Prince has been dabbling in magics that made his deepest nightmares come alive which makes the rescue attempt more complicated. With the Prince's nightmares terrorizing the world, it is up to the trio to defeat and stop Prince Selius before all is lost.



Let's go on an adventure!
Each character starts out with a few basic skills. Amadeus can conjure magic boxes to push down switches or to use as a platform to reach higher ground. He can also move objects around the level such as rocks and wooden planks to build bridges to out of reach areas. Zoya has light feet and is able to swing from certain areas with a hooks and ropes and can connect the other end of the rope somewhere else to create a rope bridge or perhaps hold a moving piece in place. She also has a bow and arrow to defend herself with and to shoot out things that are in the way. Pontius has a sword and shield. The former to attack with and the later to protect himself with from dangers in the level.  He also has a devastating ground pound attack that can be used with the tap of a button to defeat enemies or launch objects from makeshift catapults.


Behold the mighty BOX!!!!

As you play the game you will need the skills of all three to traverse the level and bypass puzzles and enemies alike. As you play, you gather experience that gives you access to more skills that can aid you further in later levels. Zoya for instance quickly gains the ability to shoot ice arrows, which can freeze moving platforms and stop gates from crashing down. And Amadeus the wizard learns to warp across large distances to make crossing sprawling chasms easier. Trine 4 fairly easy going on the player in terms of punsihing you for making mistakes.  When a character dies, you move on to the next, while your fallen team member recovers fairly fast. I found that there was no time at which I messed up so badly that I had to start over, other then one time where the game glitched on me an blocked me from moving forward. There are plenty of checkpoints throughout the game for when you return to the game or want to replay a certain puzzle, so you do not have to start all the way from the beginning. 
The controls are fairly straight forward but as each character has different skills, things can be a bit confusing at times as you switch characters. However since a wrong button push often does not do much more but reset a part of a puzzle or knock out a character for a moment it keeps frustrations to a minimum.  Eventually with practice you soon will be more comfortable with the controls.



You can also play Trine in multiplayer with up to four people online or in local coop. The game comes in two modes. Classic mode which allows only one of each character to exists at one time and unlimited mode where you can spawn multiple of the same character. YES, you can finally start that wizard boy band you always dreamed of. 
When you decide to play in multiplayer mode, the majority of the puzzles will change to be more fitting for multiplayer sleuthing and offer more of a challenge. As a result a friend can drop into the game but puzzles you were stuck on in solo will change for the newly added companion. The designers of Trine also thought ahead and often take away the obvious solutions and areas where you could potentially cheese your way through a level. For instance you cannot lift a box with a character on it. It will take some out of the box (see what we did there ;) ) thinking to move on. 



The game is not just all relaxing puzzle solving, every so often the Prince's nightmare creatures pop in to stop you. They close off all exits and you have to take them out before you can move on. It usually is more of a nuisance than a real challenge, and just as with the puzzles there can be different ways to clear them out. At the end of a story chapter, you will  often have to make it through a boss fight. During these fights a direct frontal approach is  often a sure way to fail. Instead you must look at the fight as another puzzle and find the best way to defeat the threat. Usually by incorporating something from the environment. Sometimes there is no combat at all. In once scene with Amadeus the entire "fight" was a multistage puzzle where I had to redirect magic/light sources into a large pot using mirrors. Overal I found that combat worked best during these boss fights and did not care too much for the smaller interruptions during the levels. But then again Trine shines most in its puzzle design and story telling.



The levels in Trine are side scrolling 2.5 D landscapes, tombs and mansions full of color and various effect with a relaxed soundtrack and soundscape. From giant leaves that you jump on, to complex lift mechanisms each item is designed and placed with the utmost care and often has function in the world besides just looking pretty. There are plenty of collectible gems to grab and each world has 3 hidden secrets that will become accessible in your opening start screen, A big hall where you can practice all your skills.
What the world of Trine shows you with it's colorful artwork, the voice acting delivers with a great story telling fashion. From the dialog between the various characters to the narrator's exposition of the world that lies before you. Each key moment will be delivered by means of a small cut scene or a narration bringing you from one part in the story to the next.  

Trine 4 delivers an experience that works well as a single player and switched smoothly to multiplayer. Each time you play either alone or with others you can find new ways to play. Discovering those different ways as well as locating the hidden secrets gives the game a lot of replay-ability. Good for newcomers and veterans to the series alike, Trine 4 offers something for everyone but new players might need some time getting used to the controls and learn how to approach the different puzzles. The game is rated E10+ for some fantasy violence, but is very family friendly. It is a fun experience to share solving puzzles together and if others playing with you have issues with doing their part, remember there is often another way to move forward, especially in unlimited mode where you can all play the same character. 




Game information:
Title: Trine 4
Developer: Frozenbyte
Publisher: Modus Games
Release date: October 8, 2019 
Platforms: PC(Steam), Nintendo Switch,Playstation 4,XBOXOne
Version Reviewed:  Nintendo Switch
ESRB: E 10+ for Everyone ( Fantasy Violence)

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