Monday 18 September 2023

Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy Review (Switch)

It’s no secret that we here at Retro 101 love Trine. We’ve covered the series on just about every format and the first two games provide some of the best platforming and puzzle action out there. The brief experiment in 3D that was the third game is fun enough but lightweight and the fourth game certainly had its moments but was dragged down by intrusive and restrictive combat based gauntlet sections. Trine 5 though, seems to be a real return to the core ideals of the series.

This time our three heroes are pitted against the treacherous Lady Sunny, who summons them for a celebration only to try and imprison them so she can take control of the land herself. The dastardly Sunny then starts spreading misinformation to discredit the heroes and make the people of the land believe they have turned rogue. Of course, it’s up to the good guys to stop all this and save the day.

Each Trine has always had its own unique set of enemies to battle and five is no different. With skeletons, goblins and magic wolves long vanquished, players now have the chance to bash clockwork knights who are under the control of Sunny. The mechanical menace is an interesting opponent and suitable imposing as most take several hits to down. It also allows for flying automatons and other quirky enemies to appear and harass the trio in a range of different ways.

The three heroes remain much the same. Zoya still fires arrows and swings around, Pontius is the Knight best suited for bashing things and the Wizard Amadeus fills the roll of object creator to solve the various puzzles. There’s the usual host of upgrades and additional skills that can be unlocked for each character as well with the process occurring through picking up magic potions within the levels and then turning them into experience points. It’s a system that always worked well so we are glad the developers haven’t tried to mess around with it too much.

The other thing that has remained the same is how absolutely gorgeous the game looks. Every Trine game is stunning but this one really seems to push the boundaries. Each area and stage are so full of colour and interesting design that it makes traversing through the various levels a real joy. Never will your Switch screenshot button be so overused than with this game.

It’s also very impressive that five games in the team are still finding creative puzzles to build. Trine 5 never feels over familiar and there are a few new additions, such as sections where only one character can be selected, that force the player to think in different and creative ways. You also must keep in mind that just because there is an intended way to complete a puzzle it doesn’t mean that creative players can’t figure out other solutions as well. There are also options which up the difficult of the puzzles and even change them if you are playing in co-op so that they require multiple characters working together to solve.

Overall, Trine 5 is as good a Trine game as there has been. It’s a remarkable testament to the series that is has barely changed but still manages to feel as fun and relevant as it ever did. It’s a game that will be equally liked by newcomers or those more familiar with the series. A few years ago, it seemed the Trine franchise was petering out, but this shows there is much more than can still be added into the mix. It seems inevitable now that we’ll get a Trine 6 and if it keeps up the quality it’ll be more than welcome when it arrives.

Overall 8/10

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