The Trine games, from Finnish developer Frozenbyte, have long been a favourite indie series of mine. They’ve always provided a mostly cathartic yet brain-wracking experience played solo, thanks to charming characters, a light-hearted plot, intuitive but flexible gameplay mechanics, and fairy-tale appropriate visuals and soundtrack. Throw in several other coop players however, and you get a chaotically-entertaining experience that tasks you with getting several characters – of varying competence – past numerous obstacles, often while discovering solutions you’re certain the developers never thought of.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince takes the series back to its 2.5D roots. I enjoyed Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power, despite the incomplete narrative and change in perspective requiring several simplified mechanics, but many fans longed for the style of the early games, with a greater emphasis on physics-based puzzles and combat on a 2D plane. Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince more than makes up for this diversion, providing a lengthy and puzzle-filled adventure, packed with as much content (if not more) than Trine 2: Complete Story, while still retaining several streamlined elements and providing a healthy dose of polish.
Despite several modern games pushing flashier visuals, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince still perfectly captures the look and feel of a fairy-tale world.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince leaves behind the unfinished plot in Trine 3 for an entirely new and equally fantastical plot, revolving around the titular ‘Nightmare Prince’. Brash and impatient, the prince unwittingly casts a spell that causes his nightmares to manifest in the real world - an effect that seems to rub off on other characters he encounters. After a brief introductory act that reintroduces Amadeus the wizard, Pontius the knight, and Zoya the thief, they’re brought together on a quest to find said prince, who has been held in the Astral Academy for the last two years. It’s a cliched fantasy setup (with a moral lesson, of course) that serves to frame the action and push you forward from level-to-level. There’s a fantastic narrator recounting events, several short cutscenes, and some amusing quips from the protagonists, but don’t come looking for a gripping narrative.
Where Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince truly excels is in the puzzle- and platform-focused gameplay.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince really shines when you can get several friends on the couch (or connected online), set the game mode to ‘Classic’ mode (so that everyone plays as a different hero), and watch the hilarity ensue.
There’s no shortage of things to do in Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince, with over a dozen lengthy levels to tackle, multiple difficulty modes, and plenty of collectibles to find.
Enjoys games with awesome stories and characters, along with new and interesting hardware. Dislikes day-one patches and driver updates.
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8 October 2019
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