Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), PC
For the previous two Trine games, the developers at FrozenByte stuck with a tried but true method of switching between multiple characters, each of which provided their unique set of skills on the journey, all while staying in a 2D plane (with 3D visuals, of course). However, for Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power, the developer takes a gamble, introducing bigger 3D levels to journey through, along with new puzzles to solve, using the three default characters once more.
This time around, however, the journey's a bit short-lived, since A. it doesn't have the online co-op that the PC version possesses, and B. you can probably make your way through the whole thing in about four hours' time. Still, FrozenByte has put its best effort to date into the game's presentation, and despite a few hiccups, it's still a memorable journey.
Pick and Choose
As you make your way throughout the various levels of Trine 3 – including the main story levels and side missions that can earn you bonus items – you'll have to switch between three main characters. The knight is capable of taking on enemies in combat and using his shield to hover across large spaces; the thief can utilize arrows to shoot ropes onto objects (as well as other certain items in the environment), as well as swinging across chasms on hooks; and the wizard, who can generate blocks out of thin air and make objects levitate when the situation calls for it (i.e. activating switches).
The switch-off system still works as well as it did in previous Trine games, although some of the puzzles can be a bit tedious without a little nod to figure out what to do next. Sometimes you have to be intuitive to figure out a solution, even if it's not in front of you. This can be tiring at times, but when you reach the "A-ha!" moment when it all comes together, you will have a little bit of a smile on your face from it.
The combat is satisfying with the knight (especially when you involve items in the environment, like rocks that can run over multiple foes), and the other characters serve their purpose well. That said, it may take a little time for devoted Trine players to adjust to the new 3D surroundings, since they're so used to playing in 2D. About a few levels in, though, you should get the hang of it.
A Stunning Visual Achievement
Trine 3 may easily be the best looking entry in the series to date, thanks to the new level of depth that FrozenByte has put into the surroundings. The game runs at a beautiful 60 frames per second, and the animations and other little bits and pieces come together wonderfully. For instance, when you use a large hanging rock to destroy a wall and watch it come tumbling down, it's the stuff of magic.
There are times when the default camera angle can cause you to get a little bit lost in the foreground, but it doesn't happen often enough to frustrate too much. Move around a little bit and you should be good to go. Other than that, this game's a real treat to look at.
For that matter, the voice acting is superb, put together with a nice sense of whimsy that makes this a not-so-serious fantasy/adventure game. For that matter, the music is also quite good, making you feel like you're thrust head first into a magical adventure. Make sure to use headphones if you can.
Bring a Friend, But Don't Expect an Overnight Session
While Trine 3 doesn't support online co-op, it does have local, where you can co-sign a buddy to join you and help you solve some puzzles. It's not the most in-depth experience you'll have in two player, but it's better than nothing at all, and some puzzles are actually easier to solve with someone in tow.
Still, Trine 3 comes to an end way too soon. Again, you can probably clear through the main journey in about four hours or so, only going back into levels to see what mini-Trines you may have missed. That's…really about it. It's a big complaint, and a valid one, but in this game's case, it's more about the journey than the destination. For some players, that'll be enough.