Trine is undoubtedly the quintessential puzzle platformer. Originally released in 2008, the surprisingly lengthy adventure has since been re-released a number of different times on a number of different platforms. This latest version includes upgraded visuals, but does its classic gameplay still hold up, or should it be banished to the archives?
As the puzzler opens, three adventurers – a wizard, a knight, and a thief – find themselves drawn to a glowing treasure deep in a dark dungeon. They quickly discover that the object is in fact the Trine, a mysterious artifact which is the key to many of the kingdom's secrets. However, the heroes soon find themselves trapped within the stone, ultimately leading them on a quest to both free themselves and save the world.
In simple terms, if you've played any medieval fantasy game in your life, you'll immediately know what's going on and where the story is headed. Which isn't to say that it's completely without merit – indeed, taken as a whole, the writing is fairly solid – it's just that the narrative isn't going to knock your socks off.
But that isn't such a big deal, as the infectiously fun gameplay is the real draw here. You'll wander through increasingly challenging levels, defeat increasingly challenging enemies, and topple increasingly challenging puzzles. However, the requite twist in this oft-used formula is that you can freely switch between the three protagonists at any time.
What's more, these main characters each have a special ability which must be liberally exploited if you're to see any success. As you proceed through the levels, you'll earn experience, which can be spent on various power-ups for your terrific trio's basic movesets. There are also hidden items throughout the world which provide permanent stat boosts.
As for the abilities, the wizard can conjure and then levitate both boxes and platforms, allowing him to build climbable structures. The wisecracking thief comes equipped with a grappling hook and a bow, making her the most versatile character. Last, and definitely least, the Knight has a nifty magnetic shield, but is predominantly used as your main fighting character.
Speaking of combat, this is easily the weakest area of the puzzler's mechanics, with battles which feel unwieldy, imprecise, and unforgivably mushy. You'll often stumble into an area, and proceed to simply mash the attack button while making vague directional adjustments in the vain hope that your wild flailing is doing some good. Similarly, the game's jumping can sometimes feel a bit floaty and inaccurate.
Thankfully, the vast majority of the title's campaign is spent solving puzzles, not fighting endless Uncharted-esque waves of enemies. The challenges themselves are primarily concerned with traversal; you'll find yourself on one edge of a gaping pit littered with various platforms, and then be tasked with using the tools at your disposal to work your way across.
However, unlike the vast majority of its genre competitors, it often feels as if there are multiple ways the levels can be approached. For instance, when faced with a seemingly unnavigable gap, you might decide to use the wizard's conjuring abilities to build yourself a rickety bridge. But you could have also used the thief's grappling hook to deftly manoeuvre your way across.
In this way, the puzzles are never brain-destroyingly difficult to solve, but instead demand quick reaction time, and a robust understanding of medieval physics. Unfortunately, this sandbox-style design means that some of the challenges can blend together, leaving you wondering if you've already seen the screen that you happen to be poring over. Verticality is sometimes added in an attempt to spice things up, but for the most part, the levels are a bit samey.
The same can't be said of the game's presentation, though, as its visuals are lush, loud, and absolutely layered with life. These are the most lavish and polished environments you're likely to see in a game of this type. Every moss covered tree, every stodgy castle cellar, every spider ridden cave – it's all been crafted with an impeccable eye for detail. What's more, the relatively slow pace of the gameplay allows you plenty of time to stop and admire the scenery.
Trine: Enchanted Edition is a nice visual update of a classic puzzle platformer. Featuring consistently clever challenges, jaw-droppingly gorgeous visuals, and a smart script, it'll likely charm your pants right off. A lack of variety and slightly shonky combat certainly mars the experience, but not enough to ruin the game's solid core mechanics.