24th Oct2019

‘Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince’ Review (PS4)

by Britt Roberts


The fourth in Frozenbyte’s now decade-old Trine series shows that refining something can be just as enduring as re-inventing it. Some minor issues aside, Trine 4 is a triumph in the platform-puzzle genre and, should it be the last in the series, a hell of a way to go out.

Moving away from Trine 3’s more open 3D-esque movement and back to its roots, Trine 4 is set on a purely 2D plane which allows for a more pure puzzle perspective. Our three heroes, Amadeus the wizard (who reminded me of a cross between an older Neil Patrick Harris and Elijah Wood), Zoya, the morally dubious thief and Pontius the porky but plucky knight, are this time on a quest to locate the titular nightmare prince, a young man whose personal goals of magehood will be attained…at any cost.

Fans of the series will know what to expect here, beautiful, richly-details backdrops and charming, well-written cut-scenes , combined with a textured sound track as you make your way through some co-op-tastic head-scratchers. The ability to flick between characters and their abilities, some old such as the bow, floor-stomp and box-conjuring but also some new, which add a fiendish twist on some sections such as fire and ice arrows, a steel ball which can be rolled across treacherous grounds and a ‘blink’ teleport ability. These are used to effect, ramping up the difficulty on a gradient over a game that will probably take eight or so hours to beat.

It’s not entirely smooth sailing, however. Some moments of stutter and audio glitches rear their ugly heads as does an oddly baffling upgrade system. In a game such as this where tight design is paramount and combat existing only to really add variety and colour, breaking up the pretty constant puzzling element, some of the more battle-focused choices that you can select when ‘levelling up’ seem pretty pointless, however this is a minor niggle and doesn’t really impact the game in any meaningful way.

Trine 4 is split into chapters in different locations and whilst they aren’t groundbreakingly unique (castle grounds, forest, maze, spooky caverns etc.) the sheer design quality and atmosphere is gorgeous to behold and a real high watermark for 2D platform games. The puzzles themselves are well-designed, ranging from simple switch-pushing and block-stacking to clever chain-uses of abilities involving multiple characters and the inevitable light refraction puzzles, something I’ve never been enamoured with, personally but luckily, my second player (Nerdly’s own Rupert Harvey) got completely hips deep into them, meaning I could just pour drinks and watch as he rotated mirrors, lined up beams and occasionally swore.

The truth is, there’s nothing quite like Trine out there, it gives of a sheen of high production value, quality design and a real love for the characters which shines through in both, the cut scenes and mid-level banter which is always light and airy, never forced. I highly recommend this as it’s accessible to all and is a great starting point if you’ve never played or even heard of the series before, and remember, if you get stuck just say, “I have just the thing…I’ll leap off the edge, turn around in mid-air, create a magic block, and then plunge to my death…” works every time.

Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is out now on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Switch.


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