The re-release of older games like Trine: Enchanted Edition for the Nintendo Switch is endemic to new console releases. That’s because there needs to be something to fill the void that forms after launch windows close. It’s been over a year since the Switch became an overnight sensation and while we wait for those sweet and tasty first and third party products to keep coming through, Nintendo dips into the well and pulls out Frozenbyte’s Trine — or more specifically, its PlayStation 4 and Wii U remaster. I never played Trine when it came out in 2009 but had heard plenty about it back in the day from a Giant Bomb’s Giant Bombcast. It was during my re-listening of the show that made me go, “Ohhhh, yeah! That game!” A critical success back in the day, Trine: Enchanted Edition is a pretty fantasy romp that, in this first time player’s eyes, shows its age and suffers from a small lack of gameplay variety.
For the new release, Frozenbyte partnered with GameStop’s GameTrust publishing arm to bring this physics based action adventure game to the Switch. Trine is a fantasy yarn with a fairy tale vibe that relates the story of three disparate people - the wizard Amadeus, Knight Pontius, and Zoya the thief - brought together by their mutual interest in a magical artifact that weaves their destinies together. To free themselves of this bond, the trio venture across the land of Trine looking for a way to set them free but stumble across a growing darkness threatening to take over the world. What self-respecting hero would allow that to happen? Played solo or with two other friends locally or online through Nintendo’s newest subscription service, Trine challenges the players to survive fifteen levels filled with hazardous traps and deadly skeleton minions corrupted by evil, guiding their heroes together while making use of their unique abilities whenever the situation calls for a little magic or hack and slashery.
The three characters are equipped to deal with the trials and tribulations of Trine’s darkly infected landscape. First and foremost is Pontius, a stalwart knight equipped with a sword and hefty shield. He proved himself time and again to be the most valuable and versatile of characters to me because of the ease he dispatches skeleton baddies, blocking their attacks as well as other deadly projectiles with his large shield. My second favorite is Zoya because of her grapple ability that lets her quickly move from one wooden surface to another, avoiding spiky floors and bubbling pools of poisonous pitch, while her bow and arrow are useful for taking out ranged enemies from a safe distance.
And then there’s Amadeus. Warm, gentle, useless Amadeus. With no combat skills to his name whatsoever, his existence feels half baked. As a wizard, he can conjure up heavy cubes, flat surfaces, and floating platforms to cross perilous gaps and... that’s about it. He can magically lift and move these blocks, which can take out weaker enemies most of the time, but other than that I found him largely useless in a fight. To be honest, I’d hate to be the one who has to play him exclusively because he’s not that exciting to play. All three characters start the game with their basic abilities which can be upgraded by collecting experience vials tucked away in easy and not-so-easy to reach locations. Special treasure chests contain additional skills that build up a repertoire of gameplay options as well as magical items that impart helpful boons, like breathing underwater and gaining additional health when passing through a checkpoint portal.
I never played Trine on release so I can’t offer much context between it and the improvements afforded by the Trine 2 engine. What I can say without hesitation is that the game is very pretty and filled with beautiful vibrant colors that give life and character to areas like an underground mine, long forgotten ruins, and enchanted forests. Cool particle effects dance and dazzle around objects that contain a hidden power, making this place feel like something out of a dream. Pretty it may be, its hindered by an overabundance of light bloom that creates a distracting layer of fog on top of the picture that annoyingly obscures spike pits and surfaces. I also found this to be a problem in darker areas. Without torches to light the way, these areas are really hard to navigate without getting hurt by something you couldn’t see.
The piercing visuals wasn’t the only thing about Trine that distracted me. Even though the party travels through fifteen different locations, a lot of them end up feeling the same from a design per pesto day. All of them have the same “run to the right” mentality that offers little variation outside of some verticality. Certain platforming elements, like movable platforms, trap doors, and swinging implements of death, are reused in nearly every level and got a little boring the longer I played the game in a single sitting. The root of the problem, I think, is the solo play. Playing by yourself means not having to bother with creating safe passages for the other party members since you can switch between them on the fly. Is there a large gap that needs Amadeus to drag a floating platform over it? Why go through the trouble and just send Zoya to leap across with her grapple hook? Need to guide a large stone to break through a weak wall? Nah, Pontius just earned the warhammer upgrade and can do it himself now, thanks. These levels may be designed to offer a challenge for three live players but for anyone playing by themselves, the effort is drastically reduced.
There’s a chance that Trine: Enchanted Edition for the Nintendo Switch will be the first time playing the game for many, and they’ll find a fun and creative action adventure with puzzle elements, whether they’re by themselves or with friends. The game can get a little dull over time, especially if you’re trying to get through all fifteen levels in a one sitting, but like most things in life, Trine: Enchanted Edition is better with friends. One last point I’d like to make: I staunchly recommend against playing without a Pro Controller. I thought the Joy Cons were rather unwieldy for this particular game and not at all comfortable during some of the more intense platforming sequences. Do yourself a favor and splurge on the better controller if you have the means to do so.
Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.