In the nick of Trine
Us Nintendo fans first became acquainted with the Trine series when it was a Wii U eShop title, and the second game was to follow on the same platform. Now the Switch is set to get twice as much Trine as its predecessor.
Trine is a 2.5 platformer which places emphasis on cooperation and team work. Playing as one of three characters – a knight, a sorcerer and a thief – the game is all about solving puzzles in rooms by making use of the characters’ abilities in order to progress to the next challenge. The wizard has powers of both levitation of objects and to conjure a block out of thin air by drawing shapes – handy for a leg-up to get to an out-of-reach platform. The knight has a sword and shield and is therefore your best option for close quarters combat, while the thief has the use of a bow and arrow so of course she’s the one to use when you need to pick an enemy off from a safe distance. She also has a grappling rope which again comes in handy.
You can switch through the characters at will, but it’s usually one particular character that will be the answer if you ever get stuck. This leads to come quite decent co-op play when you have two friends in tow, with each of the three characters on the screen simultaneously. If you have the choice, it’s the co-op gameplay method that’s the way to go.
Between levels, you can spend in-game currency on upgrading your characters’ abilities, from doubling up on the number of arrows you can fire in one go to adding to the knight’s strength. This currency comes from building up your experience points through killing enemies and collecting glass vials full of experience which you’ll usually see dotted around levels but which are usually not immediately apparent in terms of how to get to them. It’s the process of collecting these vials which provides perhaps the game’s greatest challenge – you can expect to see a lot of gameplay time tacked on to your final total if you’re going to go for the full set.
Trine’s utilisation of physics is its shining light – using the wizard’s powers to push and pull weighing scale platforms, or using the grappling hook in just the right place so as to generate enough momentum to swing up and over a platform above your head, is particularly satisfying when pulled off correctly. But the energy meters are the lowlight – you don’t want to be tracking back to the nearest replenishment point when your meter runs out just as you’re starting to build some traction in getting through the game. Much like in the Wii U version of the game, the camera isn’t too helpful in co-op mode, sometimes chopping players off the screen entirely.
Trine isn’t quite the seamless experience it probably ought to be after almost ten years, but it is still fun. Trine 2, 3 and 4 are on the way to the Switch eShop in the future, so hopefully by this time next year we’ll be able to play through the entire saga on Nintendo’s system. Til then, this is the best way for potential new fans to get into the series from the start.
Trine: Enchanted Edition
Trine doesn’t feel dated despite the near decade that has passed since its original release, though there are still things that need ironing out. With more Trine to come on Switch, hopefully the newer titles provide rectification.