Trine 5 – it’s so visually appealing! (Picture: THQ Nordic)The well-liked indie platform puzzler returns with more captivating co-operative activity and some of its most challenging trials to date.
Given its longevity and the fact that this is the fifth installment, it can be assumed that Trine is highly popular. However, over the past 14 years, we don’t recall anyone ever mentioning it in passing. Despite consistently showcasing visually stunning indie games, Trine seems to go unnoticed. Nevertheless, Trine 3’s significant disappointment caused the developer Frozenbyte to return to the basics and create Trine 4.
Fortunately, Trine 4 was successful in capturing the essence of the series, and the fanbase returned to being silent and unassuming. However, we’re unsure how they will react to this new sequel, which can no longer attribute its lack of innovation to repairing a damaged reputation.
Trine 3 faced many issues, including its brevity and abrupt ending, but its core problem was the failed attempt to transition the gameplay from purely 2D to a more three-dimensional experience. Trine 4 returned to its roots, which is acceptable. However, Trine 5 not only neglects to explore three-dimensional gameplay but also fails to introduce anything new.
Although the Trine games are often compared to Blizzard’s classic The Lost Vikings, the similarities are only superficial. However, one similarity is the ability to control three distinct characters, each with their own unique skills. The knight excels at combat with a sword and shield, the wizard manipulates objects and creates new ones like boxes and platforms, and the thief utilizes a bow and arrow and a grappling hook.
As usual, you can play the game cooperatively or switch between characters when playing solo. Interestingly, the complexity of the puzzles expands based on the number of players, ensuring that everyone always has a role to play – a thoughtful addition.
Unfortunately, the stories in Trine never amount to much. The clockwork conspiracy mentioned in the subtitle involves robotic soldiers and your heroes being unjustly labeled social outcasts. However, the protagonists are somewhat endearing, with entertaining dialogue and voice acting.
The heart of the game has always been the physics-based puzzles, and in that regard, Trine 5 does not disappoint. The puzzles are noticeably more challenging than those in previous entries, but they are never insurmountable. They require you to step back and carefully consider the solution and the abilities at your disposal.
Although the gameplay is two-dimensional, the puzzles often resemble those found in recent Zelda games. They cleverly utilize physics, requiring you to push, pull, float, and destroy objects to navigate platform-like levels. Collaboration between characters is almost always necessary, such as the knight using boxes conjured by the wizard as springboards.
You can unlock new powers through a comprehensive Ski Goggles (On Sale Here)ll tree as you progress. These include teleportation, cloning, different arrow types, and the knight’s ability to glide with his shield. While this is a good concept, it becomes easy to forget one of the numerous abilities and realize later that a puzzle would have been much easier with them.
The advantage of the Ski Goggles (On Sale Here)ll tree is that the new abilities provide access to secret areas when replaying sections. Given that most puzzles have multiple solutions, this adds a significant amount of replayability, especially for co-op gameplay.
Trine 5 – genuinely, this is an exceedingly attractive video game (Picture: THQ Nordic)The puzzle-solving in Trine 5 is undeniably solid. However, apart from the lack of new ideas, another issue is the persistent problems that have yet to be addressed. The storytelling in these games has always been weak, as has the combat, which remains unchanged.
Combat is primarily handled by the knight and is exceptionally dull. It typically involves being confined to a small area with unimpressive enemies and being unable to leave until they are defeated. This is especially frustrating for the wizard player, as their abilities are practically useless in combat.
Boss battles are more engaging as they involve puzzles and platforming. However, the combat against regular enemies remains stagnant throughout the game and the series. This makes the addition of the new, and otherwise welcome, hard mode more frustrating than it should be.
Trine 5 arguably has the best puzzle design in the series, but the improvements over its predecessors are minimal and cannot overcome the overwhelming sense of familiarity. If you have never played any of the previous Trine games, only the combat will be bothersome. However, for those familiar with the series, everything feels a bit too predictable.
Trine 5 Review Summary
In Short: A highly competent platform puzzler that’s starting to play it safe, especially by not addressing ongoing issues with the uninteresting combat.
Pros: Strong puzzle and platform design, with excellent boss battles. Impressive graphics and enjoyable co-op, providing ample replayability.
Cons: The game lacks innovation, and the multitude of new abilities can be overwhelming at times. The combat remains dull and unimpressive. The plot fails to engage.
Formats: PlayStation 5 (reviewed), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, and PC
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Release Date: 31st August 2023
Age Rating: 12
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First appear at Trine 5 review – A clockwork conspiracy that’s out of time