New and Old Ideas For a Return to Form
Trine has never been a massive series, but it is pretty well-known and is definitely one of the better ones falling between the indie and AAA labels. In 2015, Trine 3 released and saw some not so great reviews due to its 3D gamepla, leaving the future of the series in jeopardy. Now there's Trine 4 on the way, however, and from what I saw and played, it's back on track to be another awesome experience.
Trine 4 looks like the Trine series at its best from what I saw in a hands-off demo presentation. The additions to the game make sense and add on a whole heap of possibilities when it comes to both its puzzles and combat.
To get the combat out of the way, as its the lesser of the two, each of our heroes have some new tools in their arsenal. All of them now, including the Wizard, have some new mobility. For him, he gets a short teleport; for the Knight, he can charge forward; and for the Thief, she can roll. In addition to mobility, the Wizard can now smash boxes and other objects into enemies. The developers said they wanted each hero to have some utility in combat, so players didn't just default to the Knight over and over.
Now for the meat of the game, the puzzles. For most of what I will talk about here, you can see the above. That is actually the same stretch of gameplay I saw at E3, which shows off a ton of new features to the series.
One of the coolest new mechanics comes to the Knight, the Dream Shield. The Dream Shield is a shield you can put in place, even mid air, that will stay fixed there and function in the same ways the Knight's shield normally does. That means you essentially have the two shields, and the puzzles get really inventive in how they use the two together. A lot of what you see above deals with redirecting water and reflecting light, so setting the Dream Shield in place to then bounce of the Knight's shield is really neat.
Without getting into a ton more specifics, as you can see them above, what impressed me most about what they showed to me of Trine 4 was just how clever the puzzles are. As new mechanics are introduced, they get progressively more interesting and you have to think outside of the box to solve them. And for many there's at least a couple ways to do them.
The way that all three of the heroes get involved is great as well. You may need to set up the Dream Shield somewhere, but you'll need the Wizard to summon some boxes and the Thief to tie some ropes onto some things to get there. And maybe that's just one part to get the shield in place, then the Thief has to hang off of something to weigh it down, opening a gate to let water/light through. In just a short 20 minutes, I saw a ton of fun ways to use the wide variety of mechanics on offer, and it satisfied that puzzly part of my brain like few games have recently.
To Trine fans that may have been a little disappointed in Trine 3, you should look forward to Trine 4. There's no more 3D, it's all the 2.5D the series is known for. It's still gorgeous as ever and there's nothing I saw in the gameplay demo above that did not seem like an improvement.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince releases sometime this fall on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
For all the E3 announcements and a ton of our hands-on previews and some interviews, check out our E3 2019 Coverage Hub.