Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power Review (PC)
SmiterMC Gaming takes a look at the latest game in the Trine series.
There are some days that looking for a new game to play can be a bit of a slog. That’s why people write reviews correct? So that you lovely people of the internets can come and have a look before you buy. Allow me to furnish you with a little advice. At the risk of being yelled at by the great editors in the sky.
If you have never played the two Trine games before this,
Go buy them now.
Do it, then come back.
Seriously, you still here?
I don’t want to see you here if you’ve never experienced the wonder that is Trine 1 & 2. What have you been doing with your life?
Fanboy gushing over.
OK. For those among you who decided not to follow my advice: What is Trine? It’s a physics based puzzle platformer that revolves around the adventures of three unlikely and reasonably unwilling heroes as they attempt to save the world from various evils. So let’s start by introducing them shall we?
Pontious the Knight is your main combat character. With sword and shield in hand he is capable of dispatching almost any enemy the game cares to put in front of him with relative ease. He also comes in handy for when you need something smashed or bonked from one side of the screen to the other. Slightly dim but always meaning well we meet our first hero while he hunts a sheep stealing goblin.
Amadeus the Wizard reminds me a lot of the character Rincewind from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. A wizard who is only capable of conjuring up boxes out of thin air, rather than the usual fireballs and such that one would expect of the magically gifted.
And finally Zoya, the thief. With her bow she can activate hidden switches or dispatch enemies from afar and her rope allows her to swing Indiana Jones style over great spike pits and other obstacles without endangering herself.
The game beings by introducing the player to each of the heroes in turn during the first 3 levels. Each one showing off both the character’s abilities and also making you gasp with pleasure at the pure and simple beauty of the game. The wonderfully gorgeous graphics in Trine are a staple of the series and the third instalment certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard. I mean come on. Look at those screenshots. Damn pretty right? I loved the stark differences in colour pallet between these three levels as well, helping to reinforce the differences between the characters before you are handed all 3 of them and allowed to go completely nuts over the rest of the game.
Once the tutorials are over, it’s time to get to the proper story.
Your progression through the game is represented on a world map screen that you come back to after every level. Each level contains a certain number of these Trineangles that you can hunt around and find, some of them being very well hidden, others simply being placed to act as a path through the level in case you get lost or confused. Every level in the world map requires a certain number of these Trineangles to unlock. If you don’t have enough you can always go back to an earlier level and try to collect all the things. This brings me to an interesting point. When you select a previously finished level in the world screen it doesn’t just let you know how many little golden triangles you’ve missed. It gives you a complete rundown of where in the level they are and then lets you pick which checkpoint you want to replay it from. It makes going back for more shinies less of a slog as you’re only really forced to retry the puzzles that you messed up rather than the whole level from start to finish. Why don’t all games do this? I love it!
The puzzles themselves are interestingly free-form. There’s always more than one way to complete them and none of them are right or wrong. They’re mostly physics based puzzles where you are trying to manipulate the environment in order to get from one side of the screen to the other. And the entity physics in Trine is spot on. You can use momentum to swing a platform back and forth until it swings high enough to reach a platform. Or use Amadeus’ box to climb up, or swing your way up with Zoya’s rope, or use some other method that feels like even the developers never tried, but somehow it’ll work anyway. That’s the beauty of this game. Everyone will come up with their own solutions to the levels and it makes me want to sit for hours watching YouTube videos of other people’s playthroughs even after I’ve finished the whole game, just to see how they did it.
Then we move on to the soundtrack. I have it playing in the background while I write this. And it keeps distracting me. The main theme has become a familiar part of the series and its lilts and waves always make me smile. What I’m wandering around saying here is that I love it. I still have the soundtracks to both 1 and 2 in my collection somewhere. Think I may go dig them out, give me a second…
Right. So far I’ve basically fanboy’d all over this game right? It’s all wonderfully pretty, with amazingly rendered physics and a beautifully relaxing soundtrack that swells in all the right places (ladies.. hur hur) so it’s good right? Yep. If you are a lover of even the most basic of platform puzzlers, I cannot stress enough how much you will love this game. However there really isn’t enough of it. It does have a level editor and Steam Workshop support but as it was only released a week ago (at the time of writing) it seems like we may have to wait a few more before the workshop starts to fill up with awesome new levels to explore. I have to admit that I didn’t get the chance to try out the level editor myself due to time constraints (and me having no skill at that sort of thing) so I don’t know how good it actually is, but I do know that people have been playing with it as the workshop has a few items available. How many more will be created remains to be seen but I look forward to finding out.
So in summary, Trine 3 is everything you want and expect from a Trine game. Nicely modelled physics puzzles, self-deprecating humour, characters that feel like old friends that you haven’t seen in a while, but you pick up your conversation where you left off, and a soundtrack that adds to the fairy-tale setting wondrously. There’s just not enough of it…
8 artifacts of power out of 10