After the slight failure that was Trine 3, Trine 4 takes the series back to the roots while adding some new interesting mechanics. And it does it rather well.
Trine is one of my all-time favorite puzzle and co-op games out there. Trine 3 was a bit… not great, but Trine 4 brings back everything I loved in the previous games.
It’s not Trine 2, but it’s still pretty good and it’s back in 2.5D.
Just like in the previous Trine games, you’re in control of a wizard, thief, and knight as they go on a fairy tale adventure. This time around, they are searching for a prince named Celius. Celius got himself involved with dark magic and now the nightmares of people around him are brought to life.
The part of Trine 4 that just can't disappoint is the gameplay. It’s the classic Trine gameplay. You switch between characters using their unique powers to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. Most importantly, all of the characters are fun to play. The wizard, Amadeus, is probably the most important and flexible character. Amadeus can conjure boxes, planks, and platforms and levitate items. It’s not hard to imagine why he is so important in a puzzler.
The thief and knight are in my opinion a little less fun, but the synergy between all of them is what makes the puzzles so fun. The knight, Pontius, is a bulldozer, absolutely destroying everything in his path; and Zoya, the thief, has access to a grappling hook and a bow and arrow, for when you need precision.
If you’re playing single-player, you’ll have to switch between the three to finish the puzzles. And in all fairness, you’ll probably finish the game in a quarter of the time required to do it in co-op.
The ‘Unlimited Mode’ from Trine 3 is back, which means you and your friends can all play the same character, so being buried in boxes is something you should get used to. Another interesting thing about the mode is that four people can play it, instead of three. Thankfully, there’s also a classic mode where everyone plays one hero.
Puzzles - If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
The puzzling isn’t much different from the previous games, which can be good, or bad depending on who you ask. If it’s your first time, Trine eases you in. The difficulty slowly goes up, and you’re slowly introduced to the mechanics of the game.
This translates into a pretty easy game when playing single player. There are some really interesting puzzles, but unfortunately, there are just as many basic and easy puzzles that don’t require more than a second of thought. The saving grace is that most of the levels give you the freedom to finish them in different ways.
If you play Trine 4 with friends (which is how you should play it), it’s a completely different story. If you’re playing unlimited mode you now have three people trying to make it as difficult as possible, because, why not. In case it’s classic mode, it’s difficult because you have to actually communicate and not do anything to screw over everyone else.
Trine 4 also has some combat and boss fights to mix things up. It’s the previously mentioned manifestations of nightmares, you mostly fight wolves and spiders. The fights are very easy and the boss fights are, well, a drag to be honest. The fighting felt more like a chore so it didn’t sit too well with me. Although, the friends I played with did enjoy it, so it depends on the person playing.
As previously mentioned, Trine 4 takes the series back to 2.5D. Which is something everyone is thankful for since the 3D world really messed with the controls and gameplay in Trine 3. Trine 4 does not have those issues, meaning that gameplay is very smooth and satisfying. The world design is absolutely lovely and easy on the eyes. The levels switch up the surroundings from dark forests to castles so it never gets stale.
After the trainwreck that was Trine 3, Trine 4 had to take things slow and take the game back to its roots. So, it comes as no surprise that Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is not innovative in any way, it plays it safe.
If you’re already a fan of the series, you’re sure to enjoy it, it goes by the book and it’s what you’d expect from the Trine series. If you’re completely new to Trine, you’ll also probably enjoy it, the gameplay is satisfying and the design is beautiful.
On the other hand, if you go into Trine 4 expecting something new, something different, you will be disappointed. In this case, you might want to wait for a sale and pick it up then.
To wrap it all up, Trine 4 is good, it’s not amazing, but it is good. I’m personally glad they went back to 2.5D and it’s completely understandable why Trine 4 isn’t some kind of completely new experience. I enjoyed it in singleplayer and multiplayer, so in my book, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince has an 8/10.
Trine 2 is still better.