Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power Review – Nintendo Switch
August 11, 2019
Developed By: Frozenbyte
Published By: Frozenbyte
Reviewed By: Alex Laybourne
Thank you so much to Frozenbyte for providing a review code
A Game With a Tragic Real World Story
As the name would suggest, Trine 3: the Artifacts of Power is the third game in a series, following the same trio of characters. While it follows a cohesive narrative, there were several major changes in the way Trine 3 played out. It was the first in the series to become a fully 3D game, and that results in some interesting and frustrating moments in some of the levels. It also broke away from the leveling and skill learning/upgrades that were both part of the first two installments.
There’s also somewhat of a tragic tale behind Trine 3. The developers, a Finnish company that had a clear vision in mind when they set out, bit off a little more than they could chew in terms of the gameplay they wanted to have and the budget they could afford.
Released back in 2015 for Windows and the PS4, it received a fair amount of criticism from its fanbase. Why? Well, while Trine 3’s stunning to look at, it hit the market at a smaller size than the previous games, and many people felt that the storyline and the game were simply unfinished. In short, there was quite the furor about it being an incomplete title. The developers even put out an apology for the game, explaining the financial hit I mentioned above.
Having not played any of the earlier Trine series games, including the earlier versions for Trine 3, how do I feel about the game? Is it complete? Does it have a beginning, middle and an end, as all story needs to have? Well, just keep reading to find out.
A Fun-Filled Fantasy Quest
The story follows Pontius the Knight, Amadeus the Wizard and Zoya the Thief. Each is happily going about their own business, saving sheep, vacationing with family, and heisting treasure respectively, when the Artifact of Soul summons them once more.
This Artifact of Soul is what granted them
their abilities and greatest desires in the earlier games. Disgruntled and
realizing they are no longer free, they rebel and try to return their gifts.
The result is they shatter the Artifact of Soul and release an evil most foul
into the world.
Thus the game begins and you set out to
save the Astral Academy and most likely the world, from an evil you
It’s an interesting story and doesn’t take itself too seriously, which I found to be a good idea. There are times when you don’t want a heavy, soul-burdening game to consume you, but rather find yourself craving a fun title that will draw you in and help you calm and forget about things for a while.
It does a good job of this, both with the plot and the level design. I certainly missed a bus stop once, because I was too engrossed in the game at a certain point in time.
Exploration and Experimentation are Encouraged
Trine 3 is a fantasy-rich medieval fun ride.
It carries with it a Harry Potter level of magic and mystery with the epic
scope of Lord of the Rings. There are 8 core levels in the game, with the first
seven all having sub levels, think of these like side-quests, which you will
also need to complete in order to make it through the game.
Each level is unlocked by collecting an increasing numbers of Trineangles (yes, that’s a witty play on words the game uses). In each of the main levels, you play as all three of the characters, swapping freely from one to the other. This doesn’t mean that all three are on screen, but rather you transform from one to the other. This allows you to make the best use of each character’s ability, as you swing, climb, flight and levitate your way through the endless stream of puzzles.
For the side quests, each one is dedicated to a central character and plays to their strengths.
Pontius the Knight has a sword
and shield to fight to the last man.
Zoya the Thief has a bow and
grappling hook, perfect for latching onto things and swinging into hard to
Amadeus the Wizard has the
ability to levitate objects and to conjure large cubes from thin air.
Each level is filled to the brim with puzzles. Sometimes too many. I like a good mind-bender as much as the next guy, but this was a constant stream and there were times, when it would have been nice to have had a laid-back stretch of exploration.
Clever Use of the Environment
Trine 3’s greatest enemy, for you to battle against is its environment. While there were parts of the levels where you needed to fight, the majority were about navigating the jumps, traps, and ledges. Depending on which character you play as, and which you favor, there are multiple ways of completing each level. Sometimes you will pick the easy route and sometimes, without knowing it, you will pick the blood-boilingly difficult route.
If you are anything like me, you will
forget that you can switch characters and spend far too long trying to get through
something that would have been a piece of cake with a different character.
One of my favorite things about Trine 3 was using the 3D level design and Pontius’s glide ability to cut corners and steer around otherwise lengthy climbs or levitation passages. I’m sure there were areas, that I could have made easier on myself, but a large part of the fun is the free-range exploration that each area gives you.
I was particularly fond of Zoya the Thief. I found her to be the most enjoyable character to play and she soon became my go to choice.
A Puzzle Platformer With Character
Trine 3’s dialogue was very well done, and the voice acting was stellar. My favorite voiced dialogue was from the narrator especially the narrator, whose tone was a perfect match for the style of game and the story being told. The game could have easily relied on cheap humor for its character interactions, but the developers struck the right balance of jokey and serious with their exchanges, and it works to the betterment of the game’s experience.
The gameplay mechanics reminded me of the old 3D platforming games like Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. There were even a few Crash Bandicoot style jumps where you were jumping deeper into the screen and had to strike the balance between skill and luck to determine, if you made it. It was a good direction for the game to take, and hopefully will be further explored in Trine 4.
Online Multiplayer Adds an Extra Dimension
While I did not have the chance to try it out for myself, the game does support online multiplayer for up to three players. I can see this not only being a very enjoyable experience but one that changes the way in which the game is played. Multiplayer would definitely make the game, more of a tactical affair, having to make sure that everybody in the group keeps up. Thus the game would be introducing another dynamic to the puzzle-solving and level progression that you don’t have when left to fend for yourself.
A Polished 3D Platformer
Graphically, Trine 3 looks amazing. I was particularly taken aback by the design of the water. There are several levels with water, and I was impressed with the effects and the way it looked on the screen, in both docked and handheld. Now the illusion was broken a little when you got too close to it, but I can overlook such transgressions.
Since Trine 3 was the first in the series to go full 3D, it’s clear that the team behind the game were serious about the title. They spared no expense and produced something that works very well.
The levels are short, but they all contain a lot at the same time. The developers did well with the change to a fully 3D environment. From the platforming to the different object interactions everything has a nice level of polish to it.
You’re not given too much instruction, beyond what the individual characters can do. This leads to a lot of exploration and experimentation. Especially with the first mini-boss – the Golem – where you are introduced to the concept of quick character switches in order to take him down.
The pacing is good, and you can get a good four or five hours of fun out of the game. Longer if you want to collect every trineangle. It’s not really necessary, but I can see how tempting it could be, as you will come very close each level without necessarily going too far out of your way.
Glitches Can Impede Gameplay at Times
For the most part, the game plays very smooth. The levels have a lot of depth and the Nintendo Switch version plays well in both docked and handheld mode.
However, I did encounter a very annoying glitch in two midpoint levels whereby my character would, for some inexplicable reason, get thrown across the screen. Often this out of control cartwheeling threw me over the edge of the level and into the oblivion that lay beneath my feet. It came close to rendering the game unplayable, but as I mentioned, it was only for two levels, and I didn’t encounter it again.
Overall a Fun Game for Everybody
Trine 3 is a fun game. It reminds me of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, which are two very respectable fantasy franchises. The characters are all fun to play as, even if I did show clear favoritism to Zoya. The story is clear and the narrative is well written. Good dialogue and solid voice acting from all involved make it an engrossing game. However, Trine 3 is not without its flaws, and the character-launching glitch I encountered almost rendered the game unplayable for two levels, luckily that turned into an isolated problem
Now let’s talk about some of the complaints people voiced about it. Well, it is a short game, I completed it in about 4 hours and that included the glitches and playing several levels with a 4-year-old climbing on me. However, I’ve played much shorter games.
The story has a clear beginning, middle and an end, so I cannot say it isn’t a full game. It has everything you would expect and ends with a fun finalboss fight. It may not have been what people expected but it is certainly a full game.
I think of it like The Wind in the Keyhole. The book Stephen King wrote in the Dark Tower Universe. It isn’t anywhere near as long as the other books and doesn’t tell a big part of the story. It is more of a filler book for transition purposes. Trine 3, I view, in much the same light. With the 4th installment in development, I’m interested in seeing where they take it. Will they use Trine 3 and work from there, will they jump forward with some more entertaining cutscenes and great narration? There are a lot of ways they could take it, and I would be fine with all of them.
Fun Story That Has a Well Written Plot & Solid Dialogue
Fantastic Visual Design
The Three Playable Characters Are Well Designed
Nice Varied level Design
Major Glitch in Two of The Midpoint Levels
Lack of Character Upgrades
Some May be Put Off By The Constant Amount of Puzzles