Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy Review - Machine Tooled

Amadeus, Pontius, and Zoya are back in Trine 5, but will this latest box-stacking physics adventure match its predecessors? Read our review to find out.

Published: August 29, 2023 11:00 AM /

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Key art for Trine 5, depicting the heroes Amadeus, Pontius, and Zoya as well as the villains of the game

It's a little difficult to write a Trine 5 review without essentially rehashing reviews of the previous games. In other words, Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy is very much not looking to rock its particular boat.

Trine is a series known for light physics-based puzzle-platforming, a lighthearted high fantasy setting, and absolutely jaw-droppingly gorgeous visuals, and lo and behold, Trine 5 has all of those things in spades.

If you've enjoyed previous Trine outings, then you'll probably like this one as well, because it carries over everything the series is known for pretty much wholesale.

There is some new stuff; this fifth installment has a slightly increased emphasis on co-op, for instance, as well as more accessibility options for puzzle and combat difficulty.

For the most part, though, this is very much not Trine to be anything different (cough, cough). Trine is a warm, welcoming hug of a franchise; it's a comforting mug of hot cocoa, uncontroversially tasty and familiar at the same time.

If you feel differently, Trine 5 isn't going to do anything to change your mind, but if you're already on board, you're in for another charming adventure, albeit one that still exhibits a few of the series' lingering issues.

Trine 5 Keeps Trying To Have A Story For Some Reason

Zoya saying "no I meant I want to hear more about Amadeus and Margaret" as the player stands outside a closed gate in Trine 5
Trust me, you really don't want to hear more about Amadeus and Margaret.

Like Trine 4 and the other games in the series (a sentence we may well be revisiting before the end of this review), Trine 5 has a story, but it's not much more than an excuse for the puzzles and gameplay.

The wizard Amadeus, the knight Pontius, and the thief Zoya are once again reunited, this time to bring down a conspiracy put into place by a scheming noble and her engineer henchman.

The story isn't up to much; the characters are all hewn from cliche and the quippy writing feels a little at odds with the high fantasy tone of the setting.

It's because of this that Trine 5's story cutscenes feel far too frequent and drag on for far too long. There's a weirdly contradictory insistence on both trying to give the heroes character arcs and dismissing or resolving them as quickly as they come, which makes the story feel strangely paced and lacking in depth.

Honestly, I found myself tiring of Trine 5's narrative long before the credits rolled. If Trine 5 isn't interested in giving its characters real depth or complexity, then any attempt to tell a story feels hollow and token.

Puzzles In Trine 5 Are As Clever As Ever

Pontius pointing his shield at a light beam to reflect it onto a switch in Trine 5
Trine 5's got its problems, but core puzzle design isn't one of them.

When Trine 5's story does take a backseat, the puzzles take center stage, and I'm happy to report they're mostly just as clever and compelling as ever.

Like previous Trine games (I told you!), Trine 5 is a 2.5D puzzle-platformer, and while it lacks innovation in its core mechanics, there is some new stuff.

Each hero gets new abilities they didn't have in previous Trine games; Pontius can create a clone of himself, for instance, while Amadeus can reverse objects' gravity and Zoya gets elemental arrows.

In addition, new mechanics like airflow and electricity keep puzzles feeling fresh at first, as you'll have to figure out how to incorporate these elements into your solution.

Trine 5's puzzles feel like they exploit the interesting ways in which these mechanics can interact and intertwine, but the puzzles also never feel overloaded or overdesigned.

Solutions aren't always obvious, but there was never a moment across Trine 5's 15-hour runtime when I found myself outraged at a solution I'd never have been able to figure out by myself.

If you're a fan of Trine's tendency to let you solve puzzles with janky physics tricks or just jumping over the problem with a few cleverly-placed boxes or planks, then you'll be pleased to know Trine 5 doesn't miss these opportunities either.

Sometimes, puzzles will lock you into certain solutions, but in many cases, you're free to pursue whatever kind of ridiculous process you like to solve problems. 

Combat In Trine 5 Still Feels Like A Chore

Pontius fighting an army of necromantically raised rat skeletons in Trine 5
Combat in Trine 5 isn't anywhere near uncommon enough.

One area where the Trine series has never managed to find its niche is combat, and sadly, that problem continues here.

All three heroes get lots of different abilities to use on enemies, and while some of them are useful and fun to deploy, the overall stickiness and awkwardness of combat mean that pumping experience into Trine 5's skill tree just never feels as rewarding as it should.

When you're pitted against hordes of clockwork enemies or necromantic rats, it becomes painfully obvious that Trine 5, like its predecessors (there it is again!), is a puzzle game that feels it needs to have a combat element.

There's nothing egregiously terrible or broken about combat, but it just plain doesn't feel fun to engage in. Amadeus the wizard is next to useless in fights, and aiming Pontius and Zoya's abilities while dodging enemy attacks feels cumbersome and tricky.

Thankfully, it is possible to lower Trine 5's combat difficulty, so if you find yourself struggling with the fights, it's well worth using Trine 5's range of accessibility settings to find your combat niche. Trust me when I say that grappling with this fighting engine to achieve mastery isn't worth it.

Trine 5 Outstays Its Welcome Eventually

Amadeus standing on a box amidst a spike pit in Trine 5
Trine 5 has some clever puzzles, but they get old relatively fast.

It's a shame, then, that although Trine 5's puzzles were enjoyable at first, I did find myself tiring of them long before the finish line.

As I've said, Trine 5 lasted me around 15 hours of gameplay, and I felt it running out of steam somewhere around the 8-10-hour mark. One too many puzzles felt like they had similar solutions, and although puzzles don't feel overdesigned, character abilities do feel a touch overloaded.

This meant that I often found myself growing tired and bored as I tried to remember which of the specific combinations of character abilities I could use to solve one puzzle or another, and when I finally found the solution, I didn't feel triumphant. Instead, I was just glad I could move on.

While the controls are initially fairly intuitive, as abilities are added to your arsenal, it can be difficult to remember which buttons do what, leading to some frustrating failures that felt more down to grappling with controls rather than actually failing to understand the puzzle.

This isn't helped by Trine 5's relentlessly generic setting and music, which feel ripped straight out of a mobile game. Obvious location after obvious location made me sigh with resignation every time I found somewhere "new" to explore, and the repetitive, "epic" music never transcends mediocrity.

Despite these gripes, Trine 5 has some incredible visuals; its fantasy world is stunningly well-realized. I just don't really understand why that's the case when there's absolutely nothing fresh or interesting to see in it.

I'm not necessarily clamoring for the next Trine to take place in some kind of Oddworld-style dystopian meat-packing plant, but some kind of change of scenery really feels necessary to prevent stagnation next time around.

Trine 5 Review | Final Thoughts

Zoya shimmying across a bar over a river in Trine 5
There's fun to be had in Trine 5, but tackle it in short bursts.

If what you want is some clever, solidly engaging 2.5D puzzle-platforming, then Trine 5 will certainly provide that. It's well-designed, and it keeps the spirit of its franchise burning with familiar characters and adherence to a proven formula.

Unfortunately, repetition, a stagnant and bland setting, and a bloated runtime make Trine 5 a difficult recommend if you haven't loved the previous games in the series.

Those who are looking for more Trine at any cost will fall in love with Trine 5. Anybody who felt previous games were a touch obvious, boring, or uninspired can feel free to Trine another franchise. I'm not sorry for that one.

Trine 5 was reviewed on PC with a copy provided by the developer over the course of 15 hours of gameplay. All screenshots were taken during the process of review.

Review Summary

Trine 5 offers yet more of the same, and while it's got some great puzzles and beautiful visuals, its obvious setting and overlong runtime start to grate after a while. (Review Policy)


  • Looks simply stunning
  • Fun, creative puzzling
  • Some fun new abilities


  • Combat feels wonky
  • Overlong
  • Boring but weirdly overbearing story

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| Senior Writer

Joe has been writing for TechRaptor for several years, and in those years has learned a lot about the gaming industry and its foibles. He’s originally an… More about Joseph