The original Trine was released a decade ago for PC and PS3. Developer Frozenbyte found success with the puzzle platformer and has since made two sequels. I recently got the chance to play the latest installment, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince on PC. My previous experiences with the series were all on console, I requested my review copy for PS4 actually, but when I mistakenly was provided a code for PC instead I was interested to see how it played with a mouse and keyboard. I have a friend who swears this is the best way to experience the Trine games.
Thankfully the system requirements of Trine 4 were so forgiving I am able to run it on my Surface Pro. No please don’t think that this is a detriment to how the game looks, it does in fact look fantastic. I am happy to see the series return to its original side scrolling platformer roots. Trine 3 was the first attempt to bring the series to a more “modern” 3D platformer feel and unfortunately was not well received. In fact I myself played it for a while and never went back, it just did not have the same charm as the first two games.
Frozenbyte seems to have realized that old saying, “if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it” with Trine 4. If you have never played one before, the basis is fairly simple. Players take control of three different characters; Pontius the Knight, Amadeus the Wizard, and Zoya the Thief. Each character has various abilities and players must utilize them to solve puzzles in the form of obstacles. The puzzles are physics and gravity based mostly and are generally fun and I particularly love that there are usually multiple ways to go about solving them.
In Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince the developers have just improved upon what made the original and sequel so great. Controls are more responsive and using the mouse with characters like Amadeus vastly improved my enjoyment with the character. That said, others, mainly Pontius, are more combat oriented and I still prefer using a controller with him. Overall though, whatever your choice, the game plays very well.
Visually Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is the most impressive of the series, as expected. The levels are gorgeous and perfectly reflect the various locations and aesthetics you would expect in a fantasy setting. The voice work is cheesy in a good way and fits perfectly with the kooky characters. The biggest stars are the amazing soundtrack and the ambient sound effects though.
While I was unable to try local multiplayer because I was on PC, I did give online multiplayer a shot and found it extremely enjoyable. The fact you can pick up a group at any time to experience the game with others is fantastic. Each character does have specific duties when it comes to many puzzles so it helps if your partners are not complete dummies. So if you have friends to play with, that would be the optimal way to experience Trine 4. Gameplay is much smoother if you are able to communicate on voice chat I expect.
Overall Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is a great follow up in the series and definitely makes up for the failings of Trine 3. As long as Frozenbyte sticks with this format going forward, creating new and interesting puzzles, along with fun stories, beautiful graphics, and fantastic music, I for one will be there to play Trine 5 in the future. If you enjoyed Trine and Trine 2, now is the time to come back to the series and play one of the best puzzle games of the year.