Frozenbyte's iconic puzzle platformer is going back to its 2D roots with this wonderful sequel so let's see how it stacks up to the originals.
I'm a huge Trine fan. When I played through the amazing original, I've never played a physics-based 2D platformer that was even close to being as rewarding. Then, the sequel managed to offer an even more captivating journey. However, many fans were disappointed in Trine 3 because it featured 3D gameplay. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it and still don't understand all of the harsh criticism towards it. Do people really prefer 2D platformers over 3D ones that much? Well, we have an ongoing poll so see for yourself!
Anyway, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince indeed goes back to the franchise's 2D roots and it's a wonderful experience through and through. It tells the story of series stars Pontius, Zoya, and Amadeus who venture forth in order to return a runaway prince. However, this prince's nightmares are coming to life and threatening the land as well as his sanity so you must battle the monsters that he dreams of every once in a while via closed-off arenas. Will you have what it takes to solve the mystery of The Nightmare Prince?
The adventure ahead is full of a variety of gorgeous environments such as frozen mountainsides, lush forests, tombs, and a magical laboratory. As with every Trine game, the visuals are downright breathtaking with a level of detail that's rare to find in gaming. I am a bit disappointed that there's no HDR support for my standard model PS4 because that would have made everything look even more beautiful but I digress. The whimsical soundtrack provides a lighthearted ambience to the journey while the sound effects are gratifying and the voice acting is superb; it's as if you're watching a classic narrated fairy tale. Overall, it's one captivating game.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince's gameplay isn't far removed from the classic games as Pontius still has his sword and shield, Zoya swings from a rope and shoots arrows, and Amadeus can conjure various objects. The puzzles can be truly mind-bending with how complex some of them are so you definitely need to put your thinking cap on before heading out on this adventure.
This time around, our heroes have some mind-blowing additional abilities that provide a ton of variety to the classic formula. Pontius can stomp down after jumping, charge into objects, create duplicates of his shield that hover in mid-air as well as reflect light and such, use his shield to glide, and even magnetize his shield, too. Meanwhile, Zoya can launch fire and ice arrows as well as use a new Fairy Rope that can levitate objects. How cool is that? Finally, Amadeus can launch objects forward or down, Blink in order to dash ahead, and summon rideable balls and bouncy balls which adds a fun layer of intricacy to overcoming Trine 4's many challenges.
Trine 4's campaign spans 18 stages and most of them are enormous. Plus, you can play via local or online multiplayer and if you do, the puzzles actually adapt and become more challenging to accommodate additional players. Aside from completing each level which is a rewarding challenge on its own, you'll discover many secrets and optional puzzles throughout that award experience as well as collectible letters, treasures, and knicknacks. As of writing this, I've completed the campaign but still have many more goodies to uncover and I'm definitely looking forward to obtaining everything. If you're a completionist, you'll spend a lot of time within the world of Trine 4.
Before wrapping this review up, allow me to highlight a few downsides of Trine 4 but don't worry; there's nothing huge. First, I found the vast array of abilities to make puzzles easily exploitable. For example, on multiple occasions, I had Amadeus summon 2 bouncy balls which allowed me to surpass some seemingly tricky situations. Of course, it's cool that there are multiple ways to master each puzzle but when you can take the easy way out so readily, it feels a bit hollow. Next, the boss fights are way too easy and I defeated every single one of them without perishing. They're so simple that they feel like they belong in a tutorial; even the final boss!
Last but not least, Trine 4 currently has some minor glitches. Sometimes, I would rush towards a closing door before actually figuring out a puzzle and on the odd occasion, I would get snagged on the door and emerge in a new area. I also got stuck between a wall and one of Amadeus' objects and just floated in place. I'm glad that I tried charging as Pontius because otherwise, I would have been stuck there! There's also some weird audio issue where you hear a high-pitched buzz every once in a while, especially when people are talking.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is a masterclass in 2D puzzle platforming. From its beautifully fantastical world to its mind-bending scenarios, you're bound to love every minute of this lighthearted adventure.
- + Same amazing Trine gameplay but with plenty of new abilities
- + Stunning visuals, music, and voice work
- + Huge campaign with tons of replay value
- - It's too easy to cheat some of the puzzles, especially later on
- - Boss fights are unchallenging
- - Currently has some minor glitches