by Marko Susimetsä
reviewed on PC
Controlling the Beast
One of my fears for Trine 3 were its controls - specifically how to control Amadeus’ magic and Zoya’s bow with a gamepad controller as smoothly as you could in a 2D environment. It is clear that the developers had to make compromises to make it work and the changed abilities represent some of these.
But aside from a few niggles, the controls are very easy to adjust to and the movement is smooth and pretty. But the niggles are there: whereas you used to draw triangles, boxes and lines into thin air to summon specific objects, Amadeus now has only the box and you summon it with a single keystroke. Similarly, Zoya’s grapple hook is auto-guided towards the closest point where it can attach in the direction that you are facing. The worst sufferer is Zoya’s bow - aiming and shooting is either a mystery that I have yet to fully unveil or it is far clumsier than it should be. I basically resort to using Pontius every time I can when there’s some killing to be done and only use Zoya’s bow when Pontius is not around.
Some bugs remain to be smoothed out
Some gameplay issues crop up when you play a multiplayer game. When one of the characters dies, their “spirit” floats back to some part of the level where the other character can resurrect them by standing next to them for a couple of seconds (gets difficult if you are in the middle of a fight). Often the ghost floats up to a spot that is on the wrong end of a puzzle that you are in the middle of solving, effectively taking the dead character out of the game until you can solve the puzzle and get to them.
Another problem has to do with the lack of a split-screen mode - familiar from the LEGO game series - in local multiplayer. If you don’t coordinate or agree on where to go, or get split up for some other reason, the secondary characters will easily get out of view until the primary player agrees to go back to let the lost players join. Of course, on most occasions the lost players will die by falling off an unseen cliff. A quick in-game fix is for the secondary player to quickly sign out and then sign back in so that they reappear next to the lead character, but it feels like cheating.
Is it a worthy successor?
The developers themselves had to admit that they tried to achieve too much (content) with too little (funding), but the game is very affordable and the playtime clocks in at around 7 hours which is longer than some other successful games out there. It is short only when compared to the earlier games in the Trine series. What was most annoying was the final boss battle. Boss battles are always frustrating to me, especially so when they rely on fast actions, and Trine 3 really went that way this time around. My play partner lost her will to even try it after four failed attempts and we went back to replaying earlier levels.
Yet when it comes to fun, the game is worth its price tag. It may not be quite as good as the previous titles and some gameplay problems exist, but it draws us back in repeatedly - even to replay earlier levels for the pure enjoyment of them.
More Trine!, smooth gameplay, pretty
Lack of skill trees, more precision-jumping, no split-screen