With the upcoming release of Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power, the fantasy platformer series has officially reached trilogy status. The 2009 release of Trine was met with excellent reviews, surpassed by the 2011 release of Trine 2, a game that beat its predecessor in the Metacritic ratings. Recently, we gave Trine 2: Complete Story, an updated release of the second game that included the Goblin Menace expansion campaign and the unlockable Dwarven Caverns level, a rating of 9 out of 10. Again, great ratings.
So in a world chock full of trilogies, Frozenbyte, Inc., the developer behind Trine, probably said let’s go for a third entry into the series. And why not? They had already received great praise for the Trine 1 & 2, why not attempt Trine 3? But is the third time ’round still as charming as the first and second?
Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power follows up on the series protagonists Amadeus, Pontius, and Zoya. If you have played the game before, these character should be very familiar to you. If you haven’t, these characters have been around since the beginning. I personally haven’t played any of the Trine games, so these guys are all new to me. Amadeus is a prudent wizard who is a master of telekenisis, Pontius is a clumsy knight that can float around in the air using his shield, and Zoya is a badass thief who is handy with a grapple.
These three heroes are bound to a mysterious device called the Trine in a quest to save the kingdom from evil. This sets the stage for some fun fairytale inspired, physics-based gaming. You can freely switch between heroes depending on who is best suited to the challenge or puzzle you’re facing. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses, but they mesh well together to deliver satisfactory results.
For the uninitiated (like myself), the Trine games are best categorized as action puzzle platformers, and Trine 3 is no different. This becomes apparent immediately in the first level. For the sake of this advance look, I was able to preview each character’s introductory/tutorial level, the first co-op level with all three characters available, and a challenge level with Zoya.
The tutorial levels serve to orient you with each character’s movements and abilities, and how they should be utilized when you are progressing through the game. You will quickly figure out what each character’s skills are useful, as the game forces you right away to solve puzzles using only that character whose level you are playing. Thus, I was well versed when I started the first level in which I could play and switch between any of the characters.
Trine 3 doesn’t appear to take itself too seriously, with a cheesy intro that gets you right into the crux of the story: monsters are attacking the Wizard Academy, and after having no luck fighting them off, the wizards decide to get some help. The cutscenes all have great one liners that will make you grin, but may make some roll their eyes pretty hard (I am looking at you, pun-hater). Don’t count on heavy dialogue between characters, but light banter that progresses the game in seamless transitions. My guess is that this was apparent from the start of the series, and it serves the game best.
The game itself looks great. Colorful and vibrant backdrops supported with great lighting and sound design, each level feels alive and responsive. It’s easy to see the thought that went into each area of the game, and the attention to detail was pretty spectacular in these early levels. I am sure you can appreciate the effort from the screenshots.
Trine 3 is currently in Early Access on Steam, which users can purchase and participate in on PC. If you are a fan of the series, or enjoy puzzle platform titles, I highly recommend you check this game out. It doesn’t appear that there is a discount for gaining access to the game early, so feel free to wait out on the Early Access preview. Trine 3: Artifacts of Power will be released in 2015 for PC.