When it comes to puzzle-solving mixed with platforming, few do it as consistently well as Frozenbyte and the Trine series. Despite missing the mark by a long shot with Trine 3, it is safe to say that Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince brings the series back to its glory days. 2.5D platforming, puzzles to solve, and better versions of the heroic trio of Amadeus, Zoya, and Pontius make for a more than welcome return to form.
As Amadeus the wizard, Zoya the thief, and Pontius the knight, players embark on yet another fairytale adventure. While the story of the search for the titular prince who inexplicably releases the nightmares of everyone after being exposed to dark magic is serviceable, it is by no means the main draw. That honour goes to the classic Trine experience that gives every character their time to shine with Amadeus usually being the key.
With the ability to conjure up boxes and objects, the wizard is essential to helping the others overcome the impediments that lay in wait. Together with Zoya’s ever-useful grappling hook, bow, and arrows, and the sheer might and destructive power of Pontius and his shield, the trio synergises immaculately for the many solutions that are required throughout Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince.
It is simple enough to do so in Solo Mode, where switching between the three requires only a simple input. However, Trine 3’s insane Unlimited Mode returns and makes for some fun multiplayer sessions where up to four players (from the previous three) can be whoever they want. Four Zoyas lighting up the sky or making it rain boxes with multiple Amadeus, this mode is perfect for a party.
For those looking for a more traditional experience, good old Classic Mode is still there to provide all the puzzle-solving you can get with three players.
Unfortunately, that is also where Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince stumbles quite a little bit. As much as it is fun to see the different heroes do their thing and help each other out, the puzzle design in this sequel still leaves much to be desired. Certain sections and levels definitely require racking the brain for solutions, but by and large, many puzzles are repetitions of the same ideas with little to no change. It is hard to have fun when the solution is already familiar to you.
This is particularly prominent in Solo play, transforming the game into a less ideal and more straightforward journey to the end. At least in multiplayer, the elements of communications and teamwork can make things more difficult, and in turn, increase the chaos and fun to be had. The puzzles in Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince are also altered slightly when you have more players involved, which can be a refreshing break from the gradually uncomplicated obstacles in Solo Mode.
Of course, there are always laughs involved when you decide to go rogue and cause mayhem by killing everyone else, such is the quintessential Trine experience.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince does at least have character progression as its strong suit. As the adventure begins, your heroes have only a small variety of abilities to tap on. Progress through the game and new abilities are gained, opening up new ways in which to approach the puzzles. It definitely helps spice things up, and adds a layer of replayability to past levels and puzzles.
Compared to the more simplistic offerings in previous games, the addition of a skill tree with optional but handy upgrades adds even more incentive for players to truly explore and master the worlds found in the game. Being able to freeze enemies with Zoya’s arrows and crushing them with a mighty levitation stomp from Pontius is always good fun.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince also one-ups its predecessors in terms of looks, with some of the most stunning 2.5D artwork on display at any given time. The artists at Frozenbyte deserve every plaudit that comes their way, building a fantastical world full of whimsy and delight in every detail. Regardless of the occasional visual bug, this is a beautiful game standing still and in motion.
As a sequel, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince does almost everything right. Returning to the fan-favourite co-op gameplay and puzzle-solving more akin to the earlier entries was the right move, and adding in proper character progression lends a proper sheen to the package.
If not for the uninspired puzzle design, straightforward difficulty, and the occasional visual glitch, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince would be a perfect example of a fun, cooperative game that both looks and plays remarkably from start to finish.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is good on its own, but it is in co-op where it truly shines the brightest.
Gameplay - 7.5/10
Story - 7/10
Presentation - 8.5/10
Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
Jake is a full-time trophy hunter and achievement gatherer on consoles, and part-time Steam Sale victim. He has a thing for Batman and awesome statues, and running out of space for both. Send help.