Trine is a great series thanks to the beautiful locations and the wonderful puzzles. It is impressive that an indie developer manages to deliver such magical games. In terms of gameplay, there are alot puzzles that impress thanks to the many solutions. Given my praise for the series, it makes sense that I was enthusiastic when Trine 3 first hit the scene in 2015. Unfortunately, this review is not a hymn, but a warning, because ambition does not always produce a good result.
Trine 3 starts just like the previous games. The three heroes Zoya the thief, Amadeus the wizard and Pontius the knight are busy with their own lives. However, there appears to be a great danger and that is why the magic Trine appears to send them on a mission as a group. The mission of the third game is to defeat a dark wizard who was only briefly mentioned in the previous games. What is interesting about the story is that there are finally answers to questions such as what the Trine is and why the three heroes are chosen.
To give the fairytale a happy ending, you travel through all kinds of locations to solve puzzles, make jumps and defeat enemies. Before you do any of this, you can feast your eyes. The Trine games have always looked amazing, and Trine 3 is no exception. There are numerous small details everywhere and the impressive panoramas linger. Every area you explore has a different theme and especially a location halfway is visually very creative. That the game looks great is also the only thing that is the same as the previous parts, and the rest of the review is probably going to be a bit different than you hoped for.
Developer Frozenbyte has announced that their vision of Trine 3 did not succeed due to budget problems with the implementation of 3D (completely new in the series). Even without this confirmation this would have been clear, because apart from the beautiful images almost everything is worse than in the earlier games. An example of this is the lack of options. Previously you collected bottles with experience to unlock skills. In this third entry that has completely disappeared. You start the game with a limited number of options and that results in simplified puzzles that make little creativity possible. It is quite pathetic that Amadeus can only conjure one box for the wizard instead of several (something that was always very cool).
If the introduction of 3D had provided a fantastic experience, I would have been milder. Unfortunately this is not the case and the 3D environments mainly cause irritation and lack of clarity. During the countless jumps you make it is difficult to estimate where you will end up, and most puzzles work inaccurately. Placing a metal block on a button turns out to be surprisingly difficult if you do not know the exact point above it. Another problem is that certain elements of the level do not appear properly on the camera. Jumping up against a wall because you can’t see a nearby staircase is pretty messy.
The irritations of 3D go beyond the gameplay. Technical aspects such as clipping and the physics show a few bugs. Objects have the annoying habit of clipping through walls and there is even a slim chance you will find locations where your character sinks through the world. In terms of physics there are puzzles that get stuck. Turning a switch should be a simple job, but more than once it will become unusable. When you involve other players, the bugs only get worse. Although this is a multiplayer focused title I recommend playing alone and even then you need luck not to have to restart sections.
If, despite all the irritation, you manage to reach the end, a shock awaits you. Your mission is to collect the four parts of the broken Trine and then defeat the villain. To my great surprise, I was able to reach the end after four hours and at that moment I only had two of the fragments. Trine 3 ends in a cliffhanger that is similar to that of Halo 2. The result is that the game is exceptionally short with a higher price tag than the previous titles, and the story is far from complete. If I am honest then the adventure feels like the first of three chapters, but for a full price. Luckily there is also Trine 4 coming, which will go back to its 2.5D roots later this year!
Both Trine 1 and 2 received alot of praise from customers and reviewers. Trine 3 is a strong contrast in that regard and it is sadly not truly worth picking up just because of that. The world is still a beautiful place, but every other aspect has suffered. For a higher price you get an experience that offers fewer options, is shorter, has a lower quality and also ends in an abrupt way. Luckily Switch owners can already enjoy the first and second installment and we also have a highly anticipated fourth installment coming at then end of this year!
Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power is a lesser adventure in a family of amazing story based puzzle platformers. The visuals remain amazing, but the jump to 3D didn’t do the series justice.