Game Review #471: Trine: Ultimate Collection (Nintendo Switch)
Updated: Mar 22, 2020
Reviewer: Allan Jenks
Publisher: Modus Games
Category: Adventure, Platformer, Puzzle, Action, Indie
Release Date: 10.8.2019
Buy Trine: Ultimate Collection from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Buy Trine: Ultimate Collection physically from Amazon here.
The Trine series started back in 2009 with the release of Trine on Microsoft Windows, which was eventually ported to PlayStation Network. The game has you playing as three different interchangeable characters in a 2-D side-scrolling fantasy world set in medieval times. As the story goes, after the king passes away without leaving an heir to the throne, the kingdom falls into chaos, and an army of demonic dark forces seizes the opportunity to take over.
Our three heroes all find themselves in The Shrine of Ancient Treasure, where they discover a magical artifact called the Trine. Upon touching the artifact, our heroes are sucked into it and their souls become bound together, with only one of them being able to exist physically at any given time, while the other two remain in the Trine. Our heroes then set out on a quest in search of a way to free themselves from the Trine and save the kingdom from the darkness that has taken hold of it.
There have since been 3 sequels to Trine, as well as a remake of the original. I managed to somehow avoid any shred of awareness of this absolutely beautiful series of games up until I saw a trailer for Trine 4, and then I found out that every game in the series would be in one place with the Trine: Ultimate Collection. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to dive right in and see what the Trine series was all about.
Zoya the Thief is equipped with a bow and arrow as her weapon, coupled with a grappling hook that allows her to grab onto and swing from different wooden objects and platforms throughout the stages. Her bow and arrow can eventually be upgraded to allow for more arrows to be fired at once and to allow for flaming arrows to be fired as well, causing more damage to enemies.
Amadeus the Wizard does not have a weapon, but he can use sorcery to create and move objects with his mind. At the start of the game, he can only conjure a cube, but as you gather more EXP—found scattered about the stages in all the hard-to-reach areas—this ability can be leveled up to allow for the conjuring of planks that can be used to bridge large gaps, and floating triangle-shaped objects that can be used as impromptu platform pieces, allowing you to reach some otherwise inaccessible spots on the screen.
Pontius the Knight is your tank. His weapons are the sword and shield, and he is the go-to when the enemies get a bit overwhelming, or during the occasional boss fight. His sword can be upgraded to a flaming sword, and he can also acquire a sledgehammer that can be used for area damage when used to strike the ground. His shield can be used to deflect enemy attacks, as well as to boost up a friend when playing in co-op mode.
Each character has their own unique set of skills and controls, and these different skills must be used appropriately to solve environmental puzzles, often requiring that you switch between characters to solve different parts of the same puzzle. Each character has their own health bar and energy meter as well, and if one of the characters dies, you can switch to another character to continue. As long as at least one character is still alive, then you will not have to start over from the last checkpoint.
Trine: Enchanted Edition
Switch Release Date: 11.8.2018
While I stated that the Trine: Ultimate Collection had every game in the series, I was mostly telling the truth. The original release of Trine does not make an appearance in this collection, but the remake, Trine: Enchanted Edition, does! This version of the game—released on PS4 and Wii U in July 2014, and eventually on the Switch in November 2018—is re-made using the Trine 2 engine, and it is gorgeous! This version not only adds the graphics makeover, it also adds online multiplayer for up to 3 players. It’s kind of like the version of the original Super Mario Bros. that you get in the SNES release of Super Mario All-Stars; it’s the same game, just prettier and a little bit more functional.
In Enchanted Edition, you have 15 different levels to solve and traverse. When I say different, I mean completely! Each level has its own unique feel and look; and while no two stages look the same, they all feel organically intertwined with one another. There are occasionally some boss fights to deal with, but nothing major. Generally, these fights would occur with ready access to a checkpoint, and when you touch the checkpoint, you revive all fallen characters and recharge most of your health bars to boot, so I never really felt too terribly threatened by any of these encounters. If I got a little beat up, I would just run back into the checkpoint a few feet away and recharge again.
The real meat of the gameplay here is not rooted in the battles, but rather, the puzzle solving, which often involves using all 3 characters to perform different steps of the same puzzle; for example: Amadeus must first conjure a cube to provide a platform that is needed to reach a lever, and then you need to switch to Zoya in order to grapple onto a post and swing into the door that lever just opened, but first, you figure out you need to have Pontius take a sledgehammer to the panels blocking that door you just opened. Teamwork makes the dream work, especially when your souls are bound together by an ancient artifact!
While the enemies are a bit limited in both numbers and variety, I still found the overall gameplay to be entertaining—and thanks to the lack of enemies in a lot of areas, it was quite relaxing to play through and solve the puzzles. The visuals are stunning, and the voice acting is wonderful. I have come back to this one the most out of all four in the collection. You can also pick up Trine: Enchanted edition a la carte if you want to test the waters before buying into the whole collection. I would definitely recommend adding this one to your library!
Buy Trine: Enchanted Edition from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Trine 2: Complete Story
Switch Release Date: 2.17.2019
Trine 2: Complete Story was released on Microsoft Windows, OS X, PS3, and Xbox 360 in late 2011. It was also later released as Trine 2: Director’s Cut on the Wii U eShop, and on PS4 as a launch title. The game finally saw a release for the Switch in February 2019. It takes places several years after the first story, and the kingdom has been restored to peace for as long. The three heroes are summoned by the Trine once again to help save the land from evil forces and hordes of goblins.
As with the first entry in the series, the game starts you out by playing one character all the way through their own exclusive level, leading up to encountering the Trine at the end of the stage, and it needs your help again. I like this method, as giving each character a solid run on their own gives you a chance to focus on learning their individual moves and commands without having to worry about switching to another character. This was appreciated, especially since all of the controls have changed around for each character. The moves are mostly the same, but the buttons are completely different.
Even though Trine: Enchanted Edition was remade using the Trine 2 engine, Trine 2 still shows marked improvements over the original in the visuals department. While there are some small changes to the controls and functionality of some of the characters’ abilities, this game is pretty much the same animal as the original, with a little bit of lipstick applied. I especially enjoyed the addition of the beautiful cutscenes that were included, as well as the fact that the Goblin Menace expansion is also included and fully integrated into Trine 2: Complete Story, bringing with it seven new levels.
To be fair, while the feel of this game and the remake of the original is similar, that is because Enchanted Edition uses Trine 2’s engine, so it makes sense why they would feel similar. I enjoyed my time with Trine 2: Complete Story, but I never quite got used to the command changes, especially when I jumped into this game pretty much immediately after I finished Enchanted Edition. This is another graphically wonderful games with a great voice acting cast yet again. You can also buy Trine 2: Complete Story a la carte if you prefer, but either way, this is another great game to add to your collection.
Buy Trine 2: Complete Story from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power
Switch Release Date: 7.29.2019
Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power was a break from the established 2-D/2.5-D side-scrolling platforming gameplay of the first two entries, opting for a 3-D platforming experience instead. It was released in August 2015 for Microsoft Windows, and later in December 2015 on PS4. A port for Switch was released in July 2019.
The game starts in similar fashion to the first two, with each character getting their own level to play through solo, ending with an encounter with the Trine and a new mission being given to them once again. It is once again appreciated that you have an opportunity to focus on familiarizing yourself with each character and their abilities and commands before really being thrown into the full-on action of the game, especially with the added 3-D element, which takes some getting used to. I found the visuals to once again be stunning and detailed, even more so than the first two games, and the soundtrack—once again done by the composer of the soundtracks for Trine and Trine 2, Ari Pulkkinen—is very tastefully done and appropriate for the fantasy setting.
In the first two games, the levels were always 2.5-D, so while you were unable to move any direction other than left to right, there was always a 3-D depth to everything. With Trine 3, the stages initially look pretty much the same as before, only you soon discover that you can now move into the background and foreground, but to different degrees depending on the particular part of the stage. So, in other words, it’s not a fully explorable 3-D world, but more of a 3-D “side-scroller” with certain background and foreground twists that force you to go deeper into the 3-D model at pre-determined points of the stage—but the directions you are taken are all linear, if that makes any sense.
While the 3-D aspect was different, I personally did not care for it too much, as it really messed with my depth perception. I was never entirely sure just where everything was actually situated, and I ended up falling into quite a few drops to my death as a result. This may just be a personal problem, as I have mentioned in past 3-D platformer reviews that I kind of suck at them, but given that Trine 4 took a reverse course and went back with the 2-D gameplay, I am guessing I am not the only one who was thrown off by the 3-D change. That being said, while the game is rather short, it is still a lot of fun to play, and certainly easy on the eyes and the ears. Once again, Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power is available a la carte if you don’t want to commit to buying the whole collection, and while it is my least favorite in the series, it is still more than worth picking up and adding to your collection.
Buy Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince
Switch Release Date: 10.8.2019
After Trine 3 got a less-than-warm reception from fans, the future of the franchise was up in the air—after all, Trine 3 cost over $5 million to make! At long last, however, the developers at Frozenbyte came through with the 4th title in the series, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince, which is a return to the classic 2.5-D side-scrolling roots of the series. In The Nightmare Prince, our heroes are once again summoned to save the kingdom, this time from a cursed prince with a bit of a giant werewolf issue.
Released in October 2019 on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC, Trine 4 takes the best of what came before it and tries to enhance it all just a little bit. It doesn’t really reinvent the wheel though, as it mostly feels like more of the same, but there are a few tweaks here and there that give the series a somewhat fresh feel, such as the enhanced combat system. Amadeus can finally bash his giant cube-shaped objects onto enemies with relative ease, Zoya can fire off her arrows with better efficiency thanks to the tweaked controls—and she can tie ropes off to multiple objects, which can create a rope bridge that allows her to walk across platform gaps—and Pontius gets to use his shield a bit more for puzzle solving.
The enemies are a bit more varied than they have been in the previous games, which is a nice change, but the boss fights are the real improvement here. Unlike the previous titles, where the boss fights really felt more like anti-climactic random encounters with larger enemies, you really feel like you are fighting a boss in this game. You really have to plot out your strategy, as well as solve puzzles mid-battle in order to defeat the bosses, and the difficulty is ramped up a little more as well. I actually got stuck a couple of times with a couple of bosses, which really gave the game a bit more of a challenge in that regard.
Graphically, Trine 4 looks quite similar to Enchanted Edition and Complete Story, but more detailed and even more stunning. The cutscenes that have been added are also quite beautiful, and really do a great job with the storytelling versus the previous entries. Once again, the voice acting and narration are top-notch, and the soundtrack is awesome.
While my favorite of the series is still Trine: Enchanted Edition, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is a close 2nd. If you are new to the series, you can still jump right into this one and not really miss a beat. As with the other titles in the Trine series, you can also purchase Trine 4 a la carte. I would once again recommend adding this one to your library.
Buy Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Wrapping Up (To Bundle, or Not to Bundle?)
Trine: Ultimate Collection is a lot of game to take in, but each of the games is beautiful, fun, and overall, a great gaming experience. I mentioned how each of the four games can be purchased a la carte, but let’s be honest… you know you want all of them! My only warning to you would be this: space the games out! I played these games back-to-back-to-back, and I honestly got a bit burnt out on them as a result. The games are all different from one another, but only slightly, so playing them rapid-fire like I did may result in you walking away and forgetting—or not wanting—to come back. If paced properly though, this is an amazing collection of games, and I would absolutely urge you to get them all!
Final Score: 8/10
Buy Trine: Ultimate Collection from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Buy Trine: Ultimate Collection physically from Amazon here.
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*A game code was provided for review purposes