By – Sophie Jones

Trine 3 Review He

The adventures of Trine are back in Artifacts of Power and the third entry is off to a great start in its early access debut. We catch up with our favourite heroes Pontius The Warrior, Amadeus The Wizard and Zoya The Thief. Its opening scene take us to an idyllic beach, a wondrous cavern and Pontius wrestling a goblin for a sheep! This game sets to deliver what most Trine fans enjoy, fun gameplay along with quirky physics.

The story begins by introducing each of the protagonist’s lives before the magical Trine captures and hurls them into yet another quest. This sets a pleasant stage for players to become familiar with each of the hero’s abilities and for newcomers to learn the controls. After this refresher, we are thrown into the main expedition where we are sent to destroy a stone golem threatening some unlucky wizards. However, the death of the beast is not the end as the Trine refuses to release our champions, instead, a strange smoke erupts from the artifact causing our victors to continue on and find the true evil. Due to its early access release we are only given the first two chapters of the campaign to relish. This isn’t enough time to fully engage with the writing as it can be a little bland but, it was enough for me to become in awed by its quaint fantasy world.

Additionally, a new element of gameplay called Challenge Levels has been included. These parts of the narrative are dedicated to a single adventurer and aim to be the ultimate test of a players skills. So far I have been able to test out Zoya’s, ‘A brush with death’, which was exceptionally fun as I hung precariously over waters of toxic death. The inclusion of these excite me as I can’t wait to battle my way through crazy contraptions and ridiculous puzzles. I also like the fact that they will be character driven environments so we can focus on one skill set extensively.

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Furthermore, we have access to the Amusement Park. This arena of geometric shapes is a place where the beauty of Trine’s environments are stripped away and we can roam the bizarre platform having ecstatic fun with game’s mechanics. This area is littered with boxes, orbs and revolving podiums, plus, loads of other random objects like watermelons. The great thing about this added component is there is so much to do and explore, I was never sure what I was going to find! For instance, after traversing up a wall of moving dais’s I stumbled on a candy cane striped skate ramp, and to my horror, it was surrounded by moving clown faces. I quickly jumped off this platform to find myself in a much more joyful place where there was a giant bowling alley. The developers have set up a marvellous playground which they keep adding to and I can’t wait to see what I find next as I run around throwing orbs everywhere with Amadeus.

All of the above aspects can be enjoyed cooperatively, which is one of the games greatest charistics.Trine 3 is gratifying when on single-player but when playing with mates the game really opens up as you try to solve the mysteries that lay ahead together. The best thing about joining friends in this quest is the sheer amount of possibilities you can explore whilst messing around with the quirky physics. You can promise time and time again that you won’t knock Zoya off her rope by throwing a box at her with Amadeus, but each opportunity will urge you to as its a joke that never gets old. This is just one of the amusing things you can try, you can also lift companions into the air.

Of course this added component means that players can solve Trine’s intricate puzzles in ways that were never intended as they smash their way through them. I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a problem until you encounter a glitch and end up back at the last checkpoint, so, if you’re going to play wildly do so with caution. When going through the campaign with others it is worth noting that you are assigned one of the characters and these cannot be overlapped, so you can’t all play as Zoya, only one person can. I would suggest putting dibs on your favourite to avoid any fallouts! Currently the local co-op is functional but online co-op is still encountering various bugs such as connection errors.

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In terms of mechanics, Frozenbyte haven’t added a great deal. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as their current formula hasn’t become stale. Gameplay is still refreshing and highly entertaining as you fight through the beautiful environments and solve the many pondering puzzles. Each hero still has their individual abilities which help players move freely around the lush levels, Zoya is able to use her bow and arrow to grapple boxes and swing across treacherous caverns, whilst, Amadeus can spawn heavy crates and move objects.These differing traits mean that switching between characters is essential in progressing through the game. This was a delightful detail as I had to approach each section carefully and assess who was best suited for the activities that lay ahead.However, in the games current state only the basic character skills will be available. My only concern lies with the enemies as they did not challenge or change in the few hours I experienced, hopefully these will be altered or improved upon as the game progresses.

One major change in Trine 3 is the implementation of 3D environments. Nevertheless, the game’s camera usually likes to remind you of the series 2D roots as it pans round to give you a charming side-view perspective. The only issue, is that it is hard to determine where you are meant to go next as the camera angle works against you in these cases. Furthermore, the added depth hasn’t been properly handled as jumping is still a bit iffy as you most often miss on what you would have considered a safe bet.

From a technical standpoint, an array of options are offered. Resolutions from 640×480 to 1920×1080 can be chosen which caters for wide variety of PC’s (no custom resolutions are provided). Other settings that can be altered include vsync, anti aliasing and stereoscopic 3D mode. Graphical detail cannot be as fine tuned as the game only offers Low, Medium, High or Very High. Even though I utilized the Very High specs, the game textures were still a bit muddy and certain objects and character models would sink into the ground messily.

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Trine 3 supports both Keyboard/mouse and controller, both can be rebinded to your liking. However, I found this wasn’t necessary as either device worked brilliantly and the controls were easy to learn and use.  Finally, an editor tool is available so players with some dev knowledge can create adaptations. This will be using the engine/editor 3.0 so features from Trine 2’s editor will be missing or updated as the system is based on new software. All mods produced can be used online if all players participating have the chosen file enabled.

For someone like myself this implement was quite difficult to use as I don’t know my way around but for veterans of mod making this will be an easy application that can improve your games and others. Also, if you really want to learn the great thing is this is available for all to dabble in. Making the editor accessible will generate a more community driven and unique experience as you can always add at no extra cost. In the recent update v.0.04 Frozenbyte have added all their art assets so gamers will be able to start modding to their hearts content. These assets will include all created material that isn’t yet present in the current campaign mode. Due to the premature nature of the game the editor might still need a lot of updates before it is fully functional and without flaws.

Throughout my time in v.0.03 build:2871 I only encountered a few glitches and issues. For starters there were a few framerate dips during play on my selected settings (see technical summary). Also during one section I was forced to reset the game to the nearest checkpoint as an elevator glitched in the graphics on its way down. Other than these gripes my experience was rather fluid. Nonetheless, there have been problems for other players as the developers haven’t programmed in every solution to the different ways puzzles can be solved. This means some grievances can be encountered as you can approach an enigma in a way they haven’t prepared for. Of course catering for every variety could be exceedingly laborious and thus this complication might never be fully reconciled.

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Conclusion – Is it Worth Your Money?

It is no surprise that Trine 3 has some problems due to its premature nature. These being untidy textures and bizarre glitches. However, this shouldn’t deter you as it will be a sound investment once Trine 3 is completed. With an interesting plot and tremendously entertaining gameplay, I suggest taking the plunge and helping it develop into something mightier.  This is going to be another fruitful fantasy adventure to experience with your friends or happily alone.

Trine 3 Early Access Technical Summary:

Trine 3 Review Sum

  • Time Played – 2 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered – Minor dips in framerate.
  • DRM – Steamworks
  • System Specs – i7-4790K @4 GHz, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 770
  • Control Scheme – M/KB and Controller support
  • Game Acquisition Method –Early Access Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – No
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