Nine Parchments was a fantastic game that got just enough accolades and attention to make sure it wasn’t totally unnoticed. In my opinion, the fantastic twinstick magic and co-op adventure game could and should have made a bigger splash, and the Switch community rallied around the title upon release, despite some initial bugs. The developer, Frozenbyte, decided that such support would mean their more famous titles could also find good homes with the Nintendo group, and, guess what, they’re completely right. We’ve got the Trine trilogy incoming, probably to help pave the way for the much-anticipated Trine 4, and we get to start with the original. Trine: Enchanted Edition is now out on the Nintendo Switch.
For those unaware, Trine is the name of a magical artifact that has two very curious properties: the ability to bind souls, and is one of a trio of artifacts that can be used to help cleanse the kingdom in which it dwells. You see, the land where the Trine exists is currently a destitute, corrupt land, where the king is dead, the people are in chaos, and the undead are currently overtaking all that you see. Fortunately, the Trine is happened upon by three would-be heroes, and they all get bound together by the Trine and, as a begrudging result, seek to unite the artifacts if only to separate themselves, but I guess saving everyone is cool, too. Using their unique skills and gifts, Zoya the Thief, Amadeus the Wizard and Pontius the Knight must work together, sometimes in tandem, to finally reach the lost artifacts and save the kingdom.
Trine is a really unusual beast, because it’s definitely meant to be played in a cooperative sense, but can easily be handled in a single player mode, and is, at times, more enjoyable as such. The Trine, in single player mode, allows the player to cycle through the three heroes with a press of a button, bringing forward whomever you need to accomplish a particular task. As Trine is equal parts adventure and puzzler, there will be plenty of opportunities to utilize each character in turn. For example, Zoya’s grappling hook will help cross treacherous areas, and her bow can strike down distant foes and targets. Amadeus can move things with his magical, telekinesis-like skills, and also summon objects to make new platforms and triggers. And Pontius…hits stuff. Like, really hard. That might not seem like much, but there’s more than a few times when the undead or worse overrun the screen and you just need to get to swinging so that you can clear the air. As you move along, there’s opportunities to level up your skills through EXP that’s dropped and found scattered throughout, and that just makes your skills more interesting. Summon floating platforms, shoot flaming arrows, smash things with a thunder hammer…you don’t technically NEED any of these skills to progress later into the game, but damn does it help.
Now, as far as gameplay goes, Trine: Enchanted Edition delivers some unbelievably smooth mapping to the Joycons and fast, clean action. Since Amadeus needs a floating mouse cursor in order to summon his various platforms, the transition to using the R stick for this feat is a bit wonky at first, but rapidly becomes second nature. Frozenbyte aids this by making sure the other abilities (blocking, arrow shooting) are mapped to the same stick so that there isn’t anything oddball about it. Each room seems to have a clear-cut way to get past, but there’s a chance to sort of invent your own direction. For example, early on, there’s a narrow corridor with a flame shooting turret and an EXP jar hidden beneath it. Technically, the best way to handle this is to use Pontius’ shield to slowly make your way to the jar, grab it and slowly back away. You can also take my approach, which is to let Amadeus absorb all the damage, die, and then let Zoya grab the jar and run. It’s not the best situation, but hey, it worked! And since checkpoints revive your characters, don’t worry about dying too much: it’ll all work out in the end.
The tone of Trine is also something that you might notice is slightly on par with Nine Parchments, if you’ve gotten a chance to play. The omniscient narrator, whose dulcet tones are provided by Terry Wilton, tries to deliver things in a straightforward, clear way, but he can’t help but interject a bit of dry humor here and there. The result is making the quest of Trine equal parts enthralling and humorous, as you realize that, sometimes, even heroes realize there are absurdities to their quest. Amadeus keeps trying to learn the elusive fireball spell and just keeps making platforms instead. Pontius is a traditional meathead, but he’s well meaning, if thick, and will keep charging forward in the name of justice and good. Zoya, interestingly, is the character who has the most development throughout the game: starting as a stereotype of sarcastic female thief, she really seems to lean into her role as a hero and has the most satisfying ending out of everyone. It this kind of presentation that keeps the game engaging throughout, so that you actually care about what’s happening and not just “let’s do this to get to the ending.”
One of the best things about Trine is that it never feels like it falters or stops. Though a majority of the game is problem solving and figuring out certain things, you don’t have moments where you stop and just stare at the screen, perplexed. If you’re playing with a second person (which I HIGHLY recommend, since the Enchanted Edition allows for online connections), you can basically start throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. You’ll stun yourself when you realize that Amadeus can’t move platforms that HE’S standing on, but can totally do it if someone else is, and this makes a lot of the more complicated moments just disappear. Even as a single player, it’s a matter of “alright, let’s try this, okay, that didn’t work, switch, try something else.” You aren’t rocketing along at the speed of sound, but you’re working things out and attempting new avenues at every leg, and it keeps the pacing moving along. You’ll be stunned when the game is over, which took me only about five hours (I definitely played this before on the PC years ago).
Frozenbyte is a name that I love seeing on the Switch, and bringing the Trine trilogy to the Switch is just a damn smart move. Classic games, great gameplay for multiplayer and single, and fans can enjoy the updated graphics and engine of the Enchanted Edition and how fluid it runs on the Switch. If you’ve honestly never given it a try, Trine: Enchanted Edition is a ton of fun and well worth your time and money.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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