Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power Review (Switch)


It’s no secret that we are big fans of the Trine series at Retro 101. We’ve covered both the original games across numerous formats and rated them very highly. Indeed, there’s just something about them that fills the Lost Vikings sized hole in our lives. Frozenbyte promised to try something different with Trine 3 and now the 3D experiment has made its way to the Switch.

As always with the series, Trine 3 looks jaw-dropingly gorgeous. The environments leap into life with colour and flourishes of detail that you just don’t find in many games. If you have the ability to play the game in 3D then things get even more beautiful as well. It’s simply stunning how good this looks and playing anything else afterwards is a real comedown in the visual department.

The big change is that now the game is in 3D. You can run into and out of the screen and the levels now scroll into the play field as well as left and right. This allows for some nice sections with the three heroes floating and swinging along but also brings with it some changes that not everyone will be happy with.

The main issue is that levels feel less focused than in the previous 2D outings. Puzzle solving is less complex and there is more emphasis on general combat and platforming. Using the wizard has become a bit of a pain as well as moving his objects around in the 3D landscape never really feels as natural as it should. There’s also an issue with depth and it can be hard to tell if you are going to land where you think you are. It’s kind of like an N64 platformer with the most beautiful graphics ever.

The characters have now lost the ability to upgrade their skills as well (though they are given selected skills to start). The Knight can stomp, charge, deflect and float with his shield while the thief can now tie her grappling hooks to things to hold them in place. The wizard is more limited with his abilities and now restricted to the summoning of a single box.

The new approach to skills is made use of well though and you will need everything to progress. The fact the heroes start with their skills also allows the game to throw things at you right from the off and get you thinking. It’s good the game does throw you in quickly because it is somewhat shorter than other games in the series. Starting out with a level to introduce each character you then get five main levels to fight through. Upon completion you are faced with a cliff hanger ending which hints at more to come. What form that will take will remain to be seen.

There are a host of shorter levels to unlock as well which focus on an individual character and as such effectively give you one life to complete them. These are tougher and designed to fit skill sets of the respective characters. Though brief they are fun to play and never out stay their welcome.

Both main story and side levels are unlocked by collecting glowing triangles. We don’t really like things like this as it can work as an artificial game lengthening device that forces players to go back to levels and hunt around for the missing twenty or thirty they need to progress. We didn’t have much trouble with getting the requisite amounts but it’s something we’d like to see removed in any future games.

Overall, while there has been a lot of a change in mechanics and progression the game never stops being fun. It’s certainly a more knock-about kind of fun than before but it remains humorous and throws up enough adventure to keep you interested until the end. When the 3D works in the games favour you can see exactly what the team were going for and there are some solid foundations here for future forays into it. It may not be up there with the near perfection of the 2D games but it has bucket load of potential if the team ever decide to revisit the idea.

Overall 7/10

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