Trine Enchanted Edition is the 2014 remake of Trine (2009) using the Trine 2 engine; the series is created by the Finnish developers Frozenbyte. As a 2D puzzle platformer and side scrolling combat game, Trine finds a perfect home with other Steam bargains for around a tenner.
Trine Enchanted Edition feels like a children’s game at heart, although that doesn’t mean poor quality, and nor should it; but this does reflect in the story, which is very simple. A thief, a mage and a knight are bound together by a magical artifact and go on an adventure to break the curse, fighting undead skeletons and learning to work together as they go along. This basic style is continued with rudimentary cutscenes between each level and narration played throughout loading screens. This is the weakest aspect of the game; the narration is patronising, typical of content aimed at children and makes a dull story more so. But this is only a tiny part of a small game, so it doesn’t take the shine off too much; it does however stop the game from being something truly exceptional.
The real meat of this game (as is with most games) is in the gameplay; and what wonderful gameplay it is. You play as all three characters, switching up between them on the fly. This feels intuitive and the other two are stowed away while not used (unless playing co-op), which removes any problematic AI. The thief is the most fun and most useful; providing a bow for basic combat, a fire bow to light torches (and skeletons), and a grappling hook to swing over pits and traps. Many puzzles can be completed utilising only the thief, and it is fun to do so; but that would be a disservice to the other two companions. The knight is the combat heavy, able to block all damage from a certain direction with his shield and attack quickly; he can destroy enemies efficiently. He can also pick up heavy objects and launch them, affecting a meaty thud upon any bony adversary that happens in the way. The mage however is almost useless in combat (save for throwing boxes at the enemy), but he is invaluable for navigation and solving puzzles. He can move objects around using telekinesis and even create objects out of the ether; multiple boxes, pathways and floating platforms can be made and manoeuvred to escape each area.
Together these characters can handle each situation in multiple ways, allowing organic and unique solutions to many of the problems you’ll face. Trine is a rare game because of this, so few games allow a personal take on problem solving; and it really shows during gameplay. You can swing up onto platforms (quite a knack to that), build boxes and climb in any way you see fit, jump platforms in a more traditional fashion; or any combination of these. The physics engine holds up beautifully, with each object behaving as you’d expect it to in each scenario. This may all sound very basic, but it is not often you see such a solid and refreshing approach to creation and problem solving, especially in a children’s game.
Other parts of the game are fairly standard but well executed: health and mana (each character has their own health and mana to perform their special abilities) potions are spawned from killing enemies and experience potions are littered through each level and are also dropped from fallen foes. Checkpoints are common, automatically spawning and defeated comrades as you pass them while slightly filling your health bars, helping to avoid any frustration commonly found in platformers. Special items are occasionally found in chests, these normally take a bit of extra work to find but are worth i t; giving extra abilities like breathing underwater or being able to spawn more boxes at any one time.
The combat works quite well too: skeletons come in various flavours (archer, standard, heavy, shield) to give a little variety to the re-killing of the undead. As well as the different abilities of your little squad; the thief becomes adept at dispatching enemies with three simultaneous arrows and a quick draw, while the knight earns a thunderous hammer and a knockdown sprint. The mage can fight too (but I really wouldn’t recommend it), throwing objects around and utilising environmental kills, most notably with spiked balls that can help or hinder; although this is a little harder. These all combine into a tight fighting system that compliments the puzzles nicely, but adds little to the game when looked at alone.
The graphics are a little rough around the edges – especially for a 2014 remake – but the colour palette is varied and lush enough to keep things pretty to look at. It can be a little too visually busy sometimes, making it hard to track all of your actions; which is made worse with the obnoxious control tutorials that pop up when a new ability is unlocked. A giant controller will appear, consuming damn near the entire screen, to tell you what to press. I feel is worth mentioning given the game feels geared towards a controller, especially firing the bow – pulling and holding the analogue stick in the direction you want to fire. I found this amenable, but it might not work so well with a keyboard and mouse setup.
Trine Enchanted Edition is not very difficult; I rarely spent more than 10 minutes on any one puzzle, but I found it very enjoyable. It never overstayed its welcome, or caused me any great annoyance (even with slightly fiddly jumping). Some might find this a little casual, even more so considering the short length; I finished in about 3 hours, which might be a little too little considering the £10 price tag. But I felt it was a perfect little evening distraction, there are plenty of worse games to kill an afternoon with.
Overall I’d thoroughly recommend Trine Enchanted Edition: despite its length (or lack of) and uninspired story, the organic gameplay and have-a-go approach to problem solving is invigorating, something more games could take a note of. I was left wanting more upon completion, which I think is one of the best feelings to have: it’s better to be left wanting than wishing it was over long ago. Each level and the numerous solutions felt spontaneous – I never felt like I was Trine too hard to have fun (HAH-HAH).
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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