2D scrollers have never been high up on my list of games I have to play. Thinking back, the only 2d scroller that really got my attention was Jazz the Jack-rabbit, and Duke Nukem 2D ( damn I am old). Since then my focus has shifted, games like Doom and the original call of duty and medal of honor arrived and blew our child-minds. Gran Turismo 2, Final Fantasy and a whole host of games and generation of consoles and games came and went. 2D scrollers were a thing of the past, weren’t they?
No, a wide array of scrollers were still being made. Great ones as well. Hence, when Trine 4 magically appeared in my inbox (thanks Apex) I met it with a strange sense of dread and excitement. Dreading that I was jumping into the fourth installment of a series I knew nothing about. But excited to see what the current standard of 2D scrollers was like comparing to Jazz and ol’ Duke 2D.
If you are like me, new to the Trine series, Trine puts you in the boots of 3 playable characters. Each with their own unique abilities. You will need to utilize each of the character’s abilities if you are to make your way through the ever-changing puzzles. The knight has a shield which he uses to deflect incoming projectiles as well as reflect light. His trusty sword can break objects as well as slay the troublesome enemies you might come across. The Wizard can conjure up a box that can be used for climbing onto or hold mechanisms in place. The Thief, equipped with a bow, can shoot 3 types of arrows as well as connect ropes to rings as well as to the boxes the wizard conjures. Using these abilities and your wit, you need to overcome the puzzles Trine throws at you.
Trine 4 predominantly focuses on using the 3 characters and their abilities to solve puzzles. Using the thief and wizard, predominantly, you can solve most of the puzzles laid out before you. On the odd occasion, you might need the knight to reflect or deflect things that block your path. There are however a few combat stages that are scattered across the stages. These, unfortunately, do nothing for the game and I found myself wishing them to be over rather than enjoying them. They are also rather straight forward. Simply select the knight and bash and deflect until you have defeated all the enemies.
Trine 4 has the most beautiful and vivid maps and areas that I have come across in a long time. The forests, caves and even dilapidated castles are all spectacular and lovely to see. Even though it is a 2.5D scroller, the backdrops feel alive and vivid. From the birds flying overhead, or the spiders and other animals crawling past in the background, all seem so natural. This gives Trine a wonderful sense of fantasy, much like I felt while watching the Harry Potter series. A sense of a truly living world happening around you. To add to this lovable and enjoyable setting is the way the game challenges you but without frustrating you. There are areas where you will get stuck for a few minutes but they do not hold you back long enough to get you frustrated. I found myself enjoying the odd challenge here and there. The respawn system is also extremely forgiving which will see your fallen comrades not stay downed for very long.
While spending around 12 hours in Trine 4, I never once experienced a “game over”. Trine does not try to have you fail. It does not need to keep you playing for longer by making you struggle. It relies on its wonderful storytelling and fun, yet challenging puzzles to keep you hooked. And hooked you will be.
As if that wasn’t enough. You can also party up with a friend and have a second character, constantly, by your side. This will see you fly through many of the puzzles but also have the game adjust itself to make it a little more challenging. All in all the game has great replayability if you want to give it a bash solo, or with some mates.
what really makes Trine 4 a great installment in the series is the fact that you need no previous experience or knowledge of the games to enjoy this one. The story starts at a rather neutral point where no back story or history is needed. For those who are not new to the series, there are many references and jokes that you will enjoy and relate to. All in all, Trine 4 is a game I didn’t know existed, yet after playing it, I am really happy I had the chance to. Trine 4 is a happy and fun experience that will eat up time and leave you with a smile on your face and a happy heart.
If you want to spend some time with a friend and take a break from the grind of the mainstream shooters or competitive racers, Trine 4 is what you need to wind down and have some casual fun!
Special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review copy