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Game Info:

Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power
Developed By: Frozenbyte, Inc.
Published By: Frozenbyte, Inc.
Release Date: August 20, 2015
Available On: PC, Mac and Linux 
Genre: Physics-based, 3D action platforming
ESRB Rating: N/A
Number of Players: 1-3, local or online
Retail Price: $21.99, digital only (Steam or GOG.com)

Thank you Frozenbyte for sending us a copy of this game for review!

Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power is the latest entry in the highly regarded Trine series, and the first with a major change: the conversion to 3D.  The previous games were all rendered with the same gorgeous 3D, but this is the first game to play on a fully 3D plane; the others were side-scrolling 2D affairs.  The previous games were always produced to the highest standards, and in many ways, this one is as well.  Despite some shortcomings, the conversion to 3D is largely a successful one.

For those who have not played any other games in this series, it is about Amadeus the wizard, Zoya the thief, and Pontius the knight, who are joined by a common bond to a powerful artifact, the Trine.  This artifact allows them to live for a very long time (or would, they are still young) and have powers beyond most people.  The Trine also occasionally summons them, and forces them to exercise their powers to work towards some end, usually saving others.

In Trine 3, the heroes are getting sick of the Trine always intruding into their lives, and seek to rid themselves of this attachment; after all, Amadeus is married with triplets, and is tired of being separated from them.  After attempting to do this, the Trine shatters, and an ancient evil sorcerer is freed.  Now, they have to discover what is going on, and repair the damage they have done.

Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power
Highlights:

Strong Points: Breathtaking graphics; beautiful music; wonderful voice acting; silky smooth animation; creative and challenging puzzles; great level design; lovable characters that are each fun to play; multiplayer co-op; very successful transition into 3D
Weak Points: Kind of short, with a clearly incomplete cliffhanger story; can easily kill yourself when exploring
Moral Warnings: Fantasy violence; magic is used by the player and the enemy, though mostly in the form of levitation and object creation; enemies puff into red or purple bursts upon death; minor cleavage is visible, as well as a leg poking through a skirt slit

Each character has a play style and abilities that make them unique, and you can switch between them with a press of a button. If playing with a friend, all three can play simultaneously. I noticed that many puzzles can be solved multiple ways, sometimes switching from one to anther to make it easier, or to suit my play style.

Amadeus is the wizard, who can conjure a box and levitate it or other large objects at will. I like how the mouse, along with the scroll wheel, can place it anywhere in 3D space. Unlike previous games, he can only summon one box at a time, and he can no longer summon planks. However, he can finally fight by down thrusting his boxes on enemies to make quick work of them. Zoya retains her bow and arrows, as well as her grappling hook. She lost her arrow variety, but can use her hook in neat ways, including linking objects together to solve puzzles. Pontius lost some weapon variety, but in return, can stomp some major crowd control, and can use his shield to float longer distances. I feel like Pontius' upgrades really make him much more useful than in the past.

I really enjoy the 3D world, and the puzzles are excellent as always, requiring the player to think in different ways than Trine or Trine 2. Enemies are also fun to defeat, and are easiest with Pontius' sword and shield, but also viable with Zoya, and more than ever, Amadeus. Enemies range from goblins to strange magical trees, which make up many of them. They vary in size, with some good battles to be had. When enemies are defeated, they die in a puff of purple or red smoke. There is also magic use in the game; Amadeus can summon boxes, but the enemies summon creatures, and there are evil sorcerers who have even more powers.

There are also lots of secrets, including breakable items, walls, and other environmental puzzles in order to collect as many Trineangles as possible, which is required to unlock the next level, as well as bonus levels. Some of these are quite challenging to get to, and definitely makes it all the more enjoyable to out smart your environment. 

Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 83%
Violence - 7.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 9/10
Occult/Supernatural - 6/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

Trine 3 was originally released as early access, and most who played it found it very fun and enjoyable.  What surprised everyone is that the game appears to be unfinished; there is no more content than eight story levels, with three of them tutorial ones.  I don't mean that anything is broken or anything, just that it's a very short game, with an ending that clearly is expecting a sequel or some kind of continuation.  It's one thing to complete a story, with room for a sequel; it's another to leave virtually the entire plot unfinished.  Unfortunately, it's the latter case here.  I was able to beat every level (with a few missed Trineangles) and clear every bonus level, in seven hours.  

I am far from a long game snob; after all, time is precious these days, but when the story is left so clearly incomplete, I can understand many gamers' frustration. It turns out that what started as an ambitious re-imagining of the great Trine franchise in 3D turned into a case where the team was running out of money, so they had to cut back on the scope.  It's a sad story, but unfortunately these things do happen sometimes.  As a result, what is here is excellent – I would expect nothing less from these top notch developers – but there just isn't a lot of it.  And the backlash from gamers has been massive, and unkind.  

I genuinely feel bad for the great people at Frozenbyte; they are stuck between a rock and a hard place.  They posted a video where they apologized to their fans, and seemed truly discouraged from all that has happened to them.  They said that the future of Trine is in question as a result of all of this.

Frozenbyte, if you are reading, please consider this.  First, ignore the nasty trolls on the Steam forums.  Wow, gamers can be ridiculous.  Despite some small flaws, I really think you made a truly wonderful game, and I recommend it to our readers.  Just realize that the only reason fans are upset is because they know your games are such high quality, and are upset because of the love they have for the world you created.  It's clear that there is more to see, and we all want to see it through to the end.  I hope you see that as a compliment!  You have a lot to be proud of, and if this adventure is able to be completed some day, could easily be one of the best games done by a smaller studio in recent memory.

As you can see, I really like Trine.  And Trine 3 is definitely a part of that, and I actually prefer it to the previous entries in many ways.  I sincerely hope that the great people at Frozenbyte are willing and able to bring this story to a fitting conclusion.  It's obvious all of the love that went into this game.  And there are few minor appropriateness issues, which is also great.  One thing worth mentioning is that Zoya is a thief, though that's not really emphasized in this game.  She also wears a skirt with a slit for her legs, and shows very minor cleavage.  At this point, I would suggest you get the first two games if you don't already have them, as they are excellent, and pick up this one if you are a fan and want to encourage Frozenbyte to continue, as you will get a fun, if short adventure that is very enjoyable.  If you are curious, then please still grab it when it inevitably goes on sale.  It's a great ride while it lasts.

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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