Trine has won over audiences with its beautiful visuals and tight puzzle platforming gameplay. However, this step into the third dimension is a huge departure for the series. Does it still deliver the magic or were our heroes better off in a two dimensional world?
As soon as I began playing the very first Trine, I was an instant lifetime fan. The vibrantly detailed world and quality puzzle platforming created one captivating gaming experience. Over the years, I've played every remake, port, and sequel that I could so it was difficult to hold back my excitement when I saw that Trine 3 was coming to PlayStation 4. It came to my surprise that this installment is unlike the Trine that I was used to. After the initial shock wore off, I found myself absolutely fascinated by being able to control my favourite trio of heroes in 3D for the first time. I must admit, it took some getting used to. Being able to tie Zoya's rope to various objects to solve puzzles, having Amadeus restricted to conjuring only similar-sized boxes, and using Pontius' shield to hover across large chasms was all new to me. Even though this was a lot to take in, I'm delighted to say that it all works wonderfully.
One thing that hasn't changed is the phenomenal presentation. Fans will feel right at home with the absolutely gorgeous environments, familiar and endearing voice cast, and orchestral renaissance-era score. An added layer of charm is provided through the characters' more cartoony appearances especially during the entertaining story sequences. If you're lucky enough to have a 3D capable television and a pair of glasses then get ready to be fully immersed in the stunning world because this may just be the best use of stereoscopic 3D that I've ever seen. Being able to stare off into the beautiful backgrounds, get startled from the odd bat flying through the foreground, and focus on the action in between amplifies the enjoyment to a whole new level. The only negative thing I can say about the presentation is that there aren't as many diverse environments as there were in previous Trine games. You'll traverse small villages, icy mountains, and even play through a storybook level but you won't find any dragon graveyards, crystal caverns, or twisted forests here.
Of course, the gameplay had to adapt to three dimensions. It works very well for the most part but there were a few sacrifices made. The older Trine games allowed you to level up and equip artifacts and such while none of these features are present here. Zoya and Pontius generally play as you would expect but Amadeus' magic is far less capable this time around. It would appear as if he'd forgotten how to assemble different sized boxes, conjure more than one object at a time, and summon planks. Still, materializing crates and lifting objects is great fun and allows for some satisfying puzzle solving but not to the extent that fans are used to. All of that being said, Zoya is utilized more in the puzzle solving process with her ability to tie rope to objects. Pontius slamming down to launch from springy surfaces and using his shield to hover are nifty abilities, too. Overall, the gameplay can at times feel a bit restrictive for series veterans but the amount of fun to be had with new mechanics and playing in three dimensions will make you easily forgive any shortcomings.
On top of all this, Trine 3 implements a different progression system as well. Instead of linearly working through level after level, you gather as many collectables as you can in order to unlock further levels and optional areas such as mini-levels and combat arenas. Some of these can get quite challenging yet nothing ever reaches the point where it's frustrating. Levels are filled with engaging puzzles that can be solved in multiple ways and thrilling combat that'll put your swordsmanship to the test. Earning enough items to unlock the entire overworld map is easy to accomplish given a little bit of effort put into exploration. Although there are only eight main levels to work through, they are rather lengthy. That being said, it still ends up being a much shorter journey than you'd expect.
Whether you're new to the series or not, Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power is an impressive achievement in 3D puzzle platforming. Fans may be thrown for a loop at first but there's really no denying how exciting it is to finally adventure with Pontius, Zoya, and Amadeus in a three dimensional world. Just remember to pack your 3D glasses before you head off on your quest.
- + Astounding visuals and audio with fully immersive stereoscopic 3D
- + Gameplay is well translated to 3D
- + Interesting puzzles and exciting action
- - Core journey is short with environments that lack the diversity of previous games
- - Gameplay feels a bit more restrictive than fans are used to