Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power Preview



It almost feels like it was yesterday that I played Trine for the first time. A real marvel of a game, it was. Not only did it feature beautiful graphics and phenomenal physics, but there were also some really good puzzles to be found as the three unlikely heroes made their way through the given encounters. It was a different kind of sidescroller/platformer, and people recognized the value of this new title. Two years later, Trine 2 was released for the general public to enjoy. This title was a much-improved version of an already brilliant game. With even prettier visuals and more dynamic sequences, Trine 2 was better in virtually every way, except maybe for the puzzles, which were now a tad bit too easy for my taste. After these two games and a hefty expansion, there was little place for improvement and thus Frozenbyte, the developer, had to come up with something new for the series’ third installment. Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power is, then, the seemingly final evolutionary step for this series.


The vibrancy of colours is absolutely amazing in some scenes.

The set-up is simple to the point of repeating itself – Zoya, Pontius and Amadeus are once more whisked away by the mysterious Trine to save their kingdom. I don’t believe the storyline will be featured as something one should take note of, honestly, and even though the dialogue is sometimes rather witty and chuckle-worthy, nobody’s going to be playing Trine 3 because of its story. No, the gameplay is where it’s at, as far as I’m concerned at least.

This is where Trine 3’s biggest change comes into play. To simplify the matter as much as I can – this game is no longer a sidescroller. Yes, Trine has partially abandoned its roots with its latest iteration, but the strangest part is just how well it all works in practical terms. You’ll still be running around platforms, spawning boxes and charging headlong into battle, it’s just that you’ve got three axis to do it in now. It feels mighty weird at first if you’re coming from the first two games, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s smooth sailing from there on in. I wasn’t expecting to become acquainted with the controls and jump around the platforms precisely as fast as I did, simply because the point-of-view doesn’t exactly lend itself to easing you into the bugger. It takes a bit to start thinking in 3D terms also, since many hidden crevices and secret rooms are now built into the levels in ways the first two games couldn’t really feature.

It’s no wonder, then, that the level design has now been revamped from relatively closed and linear hallways into marvellous hills, castles and dungeons. Trine 3 will have you gliding across vast landscapes with Pontius’ shield or using Zoya’s grappling hook to dash from one tiny mountain crevice to another. These sequences greatly reminded me of certain Klonoa and Crash Bandicoot levels in the best way possible. If you’ve played any Trine game up until now you know that Amadeus the Wizard is your best choice for solving the series’ nigh-infamous physics puzzles. The good thing is that the puzzles are now much more intricate in some cases due to their three-dimensional nature; the bad news is that most aren’t, now having been turned into a simplistic, easily-bypassed trivialities. I could cheese my way through a large amount of environmental puzzles, sadly, and I do hope the characters to have an increased number of way to interact with the game’s environs in the final release build. Amadeus’s selection of object-spawnings spells in particular seems to be dumbed down right now to the point where he can only ever spawn a single crate. As some of you may remember, this is a major letdown compared to the first game in particular, where we could build rather intricate stacks of objects used to reach hidden areas and whatnot. Alas, I’ll hold the judgment until I get my paws on the final build, just to be sure.

The only real issue I’ve had with Trine 3 during my time spent with the Early Access release are the sometimes overly-vague areas where it’s a tad difficult to navigate due to the camera viewpoint. These are few and far between, thankfully, and the level design lends itself nicely to the game itself.
I’m getting repeatedly astonished by the amount of eye-candy present in Trine 3, and despite the game’s rather poor selection of graphic options, it runs well on a wide array of hardware too. This is one of those titles that looks hands-down amazing even at medium settings, as well as being playable on lower-end computers, and with that in mind I believe optimization will be a non-issue here. The sound design is equally noteworthy, with upbeat, fantastical tunes that inspired me to investigate and play around with the objects strewn about the levels. The physics system is quite marvellous, with ropes, cloth, debris and similar thingamajigs reacting realistically to one’s input. Zoya’s grappling hook is one gadget you’ll definitely want to toy around with.

All in all, I’m quite content with what Trine 3 is shaping up to be. The game releases in about a week, so I’m not expecting many changes to be made on such short notice, but the complete content selection remains a mystery all the same. One very important thing about Trine 3 is that Frozenbyte have decided the game to support Steam Workshop, releasing the level editor for modders to fiddle around with. What this means, in essence, is that the game is potentially bound to offer much more replayability than its predecessors have. After all, all the gameplay systems are in place and working fine already, it’s not that much of a stretch to believe the modders to be capable of creating fascinating levels in the sandbox the developers have built.

Stay tuned for the review of Trine 3 upon release here at Mouse N Joypad!