Review – Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince

I admit, I have never played a Trine game before The Nightmare Prince, despite it’s strong cult following. The series hit a rough spot with Trine 3, whilst experimenting with the series, so I’m happy my first game in the series is the one that puts it back on track.

The story follows the same three main characters that fans know and love. Amadeus, the wizard that can summon objects, Pontius, the combat focused Knight, and Zoya, the bow wielding thief. As they journey to track down a prince who has been delving into black magic and making his nightmares come to life. Story isn’t the focus and it quickly becomes background noise to the gameplay.

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The 2.5D landscape is a joy to look at.

Trine 4 is a visual treat to look at, with some great 2.5D level designs that give the world some much needed depth. Almost every section of the game looks great with a wide variety of locations, from snowy mountains to palaces. The only issue I have is with the camera that can sometimes take a while to catch up.

Each of the game’s main heroes have unique gameplay abilities to help get through the game. Amadeus can summon boxes to climb up onto and activate pressure plates. Zoya can use her grappling hook to swing on specific places or tie physics based objects into place. Then there’s Pontius the knight, who is the heavy hitter of the group. The minute to minute gameplay will focus on the synergy of these characters, combining their abilties to solve puzzles, overcome obstacles and deal with monsters around a variety of locations.

Puzzles are often smartly designed to incorporate at least two of your characters and are the main focus of Trine 4. Using the wizard to set up boxes and the archer to tie things together for a tight rope, is one example of how these characters can synergize with each other. It’s interesting to experiment with these characters and you can even find solutions that might not have originally been intended by the developers. It encourages experimentation to figure out the best solution.

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Some puzzles require the use of all 3 of the heroes.

Trine 4 does fall on the easier side, but it was never boring thanks to the mostly excellent gameplay. Most of the games puzzles don’t require much thought when going into them and the solutions are pretty clear cut. When a tougher challenge does come along is when the game truly shines. Usually these are in the form of optional puzzles hidden away in each level, though the main path does have its moments. The best of which are when all three characters are needed to progress.

Combat is where things fall apart a little bit with a simplistic combat system that isn’t very fun to play. Whilst each of the characters can be used in combat, Pontius is by far the most helpful. He uses his deflecting shield that can bounce back projectiles as well as protect him from damage. Amadeus can use his boxes to slam against enemies and Zoya can use her bow and multiple arrow types in succession to deal more damage. Thankfully fights are scattered throughout with only a few per level. Instead, the game focuses almost entirely on its puzzles and platforming. Bosses, however, are a real strength, blending puzzle mechanics in with the boss to make for some well designed scenarios.

As you progress through the game, each of the three protagonists earn new abilities and skills to help in the journey. Amadeus will be able to summon multiple instances of his box or sphere. Zoya will get additional arrows to freeze objects into place and Pontius will be able to send objects flying. Plus more as you progress further with a small skill tree system that is functional, but not deep in anyway.

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The occasional puzzle can be cheesed.

Whilst perfectly playable in single player, with you being able to swap between each of the three main characters at any time, there’s also an extensive co-op experience at play here. Playing in the Classic mode, three players can jump into the games story in co-op and play as normal. Then we got the Unlimited Mode, allowing another player to join the fun and have each player be able to swap to any character like it was single player. This means you can have four Amadeuses placing boxes and breaking the puzzles in amusing ways. Level design also has slight alterations in co-op play, whilst for the most part using the same strategies they force communication to push on.

Trine 4 was a huge surprise for me, the fun puzzles, great co-operative gameplay, and strong visual design come together for a fun gameplay experience. I will need to go back and play the previous entries.

 

Graphics: 9.0

Beautifully rendered 2.5D images look marvelous on Switch.

Gameplay: 8.5

Combat brings down the excellent design just a touch,  but thankfully Trine 4 is aware it’s the weakest aspect.

Sound: 8.0

Good soundtrack sets the stage whilst in-game sound effects fit the game perfectly.

Fun Factor: 9.0

Trine 4 is a huge surprise for me; a fantastic puzzle game that admittedly could have used more challenging puzzles.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is available now on PC, Xbox One, Switch, Playstation 4.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince was provided by the publisher.