When I was offered to review Trine 4, I was a little hesitant. I have never played the previous entries in the franchise, and I was worried I would miss something in the review process. Would there be callbacks to previous games that I would miss? Will I figure out how the 4th entry improved on the previous gameplay elements of the original trilogy? Despite my hesitation, I jumped into Trine 4 hoping for an entertaining experience. And luckily, Trine 4 delivers that in spades.
If you are jumping into the Trine franchise for the first time, you will quickly discover that the franchise is all about puzzle platforming. In Trine 4, you navigate through a solid 7-hour campaign full of puzzles, navigation, and some combat thrown in for good measure. The series features 3 playable characters – a wizard, a knight, and a thief. Each character has unique abilities that help you solve puzzles and find orbs that are used to gain more abilities.
In the specific case of Trine 4, you play these 3 characters on a quest to help a young prince who made a big mistake. The prince has unleashed his inner nightmares on the land, with these nightmares coming in the form of various scary animals. Your quest leads you through the land, and in some cases, directly in the prince’s dreams. The story itself is very light and whimsical, despite the fact that you are dealing with nightmare creations. The dialogue is filled with light-hearted jokes and quips as you search for the prince. It’s a simple fantasy story, but I really enjoyed hearing and seeing the different personalities of the characters come through, thanks to some really nice voice acting.
While the story is nice, the bread and butter of the game are the puzzles. These puzzles rely on the various abilities of the characters in order to solve them. As you navigate through the game, you have the ability to switch characters on the fly in order to tackle the puzzles and platforming. As a solo player, you will switch rapidly and repeatedly during each puzzle sequence. If you play multiplayer, you can either stick with one character each in Classic Mode or each co-op player can have access to all the characters in Unlimited mode.
I’ll talk more about the multiplayer in a little bit, but first, let’s talk a little more about the puzzles. Some may say that the puzzles are repetitive. In a way, that is correct. You have a basic pattern that you follow in order to solve them. You may have to hit a switch in high and low places. You may have to move objects or stack them in order to reach the desired area. But in my opinion, the order in which you solve the puzzles changes as you progress in the game. So yes, it may look repetitious, but there is enough variety to make the puzzles interesting throughout the entire game.
And let me tell you, the puzzles are very challenging! As you progress through each act, the puzzles get harder and harder. They were never impossible, but there were many moments that I had to stop and reassess before tackling the puzzle again. And boy, it is really satisfying when you solve them! One suggestion that will help your playthrough is to take the time to grab every pink orb you can find. They will help you gain new abilities which are crucial for later puzzles. For example, our wizard starts the game with the ability to conjure one box at a time. Later on, he will be able to conjure multiple boxes as well as different shaped objects. These are crucial abilities for later in the game, so find every orb you can!
I would like to take a minute and shout out the developers for their work with co-op gameplay. I think we have seen far too often the use of the same puzzles for single and multiplayer gameplay. But Frozenbyte took the time to change up the puzzles and have specific puzzles for single player and multiplayer. Again, the general process to solve the puzzles don’t change, but multiplayer adds extra steps that you need to follow in order to complete the challenges with your friends. The changes are very noticeable when you switch from single to multiplayer action.
In my opinion, a lot of care was put into creating and implementing the puzzles. However, I can’t say the same for combat in Trine 4. There are some frustrating combat moments at the beginning of the game that makes it a bit unenjoyable. As you progress, your combat abilities improve, which is a good thing. However, it is woefully apparent that some of your characters are not built for combat in the early stages of the game, which limits your strategies.
When telling a great fantasy story, you need the art design to back it up. In this case, Frozenbyte did a marvelous job with the art in Trine 4. The colors and attention to detail are noteworthy. The game looks flat out beautiful. And, thanks to 2.5D graphics, the world is very much alive in the background. While you navigate the levels, you can see animals and characters moving in the background, which gives a little more depth to the story. It is a beautiful game and plays great on the Switch.
Bottom line – I absolutely love Trine 4! It’s a whimsical fantasy puzzle game with fun characters and challenging puzzles. The campaign is relatively short, but fun to play by yourself or with friends. If you have the option, I would definitely invite friends over to play with you. It’s a blast playing with multiple people. I wish the combat was a little more intuitive, but it never took away my enjoyment of the game. If you want a fun co-op experience with challenging puzzles, then you owe it to yourself to give Trine 4 a try.
Note: GameOctane editor Ryan Welch received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
Check us out at Opencritic!
Beautiful art design and music
A blast to play with friends
Combat is lacking compared to the puzzles