As a knight, I shove the last enemy out of my way as he explodes into a pile of bones. Poof. As the wizard, I conjure a box in front of me to get up a tall ledge. Poof. Now a thief, I use my grappling hook to tie off a platform in place.
Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power follows in the same vein as the previous games: swap between three heroes with a wide range of skills to solve environmental puzzles and defeat enemies. To those who have played the previous games, the trio of Pontius the Knight, Zoya the Rogue and Amadeus the Wizard is familiar. They are summoned from their normal lives by the artifact Trine, who had originally granted them the power to keep each other alive.
Annoyed with Trine’s constant meddling in their lives when it feels fit, the three break the artifact, accidentally freeing an evil sorcerer in the process. The trio are now out to repair Trine and destroy the sorcerer.
Each character has a unique set of abilities, and players can switch between characters on the fly. Pontius can smash through objects and fight enemies with melee combat. Zoya can shoot enemies and objects alike, and also has a grappling hook that can let her swing across chasms or hold moving objects in place. Amadeus has mastered the magic of boxes, which allows him to move them and create one of his own.
Trine’s environments allow you to generally play the levels your own way, which for me meant using mostly Amadeus and Zoya, while reserving Pontius for fighting. There are a handful of puzzles that have a specific solution, but for the most part, you can get through with any combination of the characters. More often than not, flexing the game’s physics allow you to force your method onto an obstacle. While the puzzles themselves are fun, the 3D camera angles sometimes make jumps or other maneuvers hard to judge sometimes, resulting in a premature death for one of your characters.
Trine 3 is the first game in the series to use fully 3D graphics, a decision that the developers cite as the reason for a short campaign. The visuals are very appealing, with the standout being a storybook level that the characters are sucked into that has a distinct watercolor art style. All of the game’s missions are also laid out on a gorgeous tabletop map, where the active character can walk around and choose where you would like to go next.
In addition to the 10 or so main story missions, there are several side missions focusing on a single character. These are split between combat survival missions and platforming levels.
The side missions become necessary to progress through the game, as the main levels require a certain level of completionism in order to progress. Unlocking the next level often meant going back through a level to try to grab every last trine shard you missed on the first pass, or attempting a few more of the side mission. Sometimes the gap between unlocking the next level, and the amount of shards collected was so large, it killed any desire to keep playing.
It’s a shame that the levels play out this way, since the story is a shining moment for the game. Well balanced between humor and drama, you enjoy hearing the banter between the three characters, all of whom have a very different perspective. It’s all a little bit quirky, but not too far removed from familiar fantasy tropes.
Trine 3 also includes a multiplayer mode, which allows you to play through any of the story missions with a friend or two. Private and public games are options, as well as local co-op. In online games, you are not screen-locked to the other player, which can sometimes mean they can easily get ahead of you, or if you have an unfortunate fall in a difficult to reach spot, they can get to the next checkpoint to resurrect you. There’s nothing really added to the multiplayer mode, just the opportunity to play the game with a few buddies.
Trine 3 combines a fun story with beautiful graphics, but stumbles with some of the execution. Fans of the previous two games will probably enjoy this one, but if you’re not ok with hunting down elusive collectibles, you may want to give this a pass.