It’s wild to think about how Trine has been around for over a decade. Frozenbyte’s puzzle/platformer/RPG hybrid has been a pillar of contemporary co-op gaming, even with the course correction that happened after part three. There’s still plenty of gas in the tank, as evidenced by Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy. The latest and greatest from everyone involved, this is a game very much continuing down the beaten path, but with a renewed interest in approachability.
Trine 5’s biggest changes compared to the previous titles almost all involve some level of customization for individual players. This comes in the form of expanded skill trees, new difficulty settings, and an alternative multiplayer mode that lets players break some of the traditional rules. This seems to be part of a goal to cast a wider net, offering ways for both novice and veteran players to tinker with their experience more than ever before.
The new difficulty options are fascinating, as they borrow from recent-ish accessibility trends that allow for modular adjustments. Instead of blanket difficulty settings, there are separate options for puzzle challenge, combat, and resurrections. Not only will puzzles change based on single or multiplayer variations, but harder difficulties add more complexity. The combat setting is straightforward of course, but for resurrection, not only can you adjust the number of lives, but this setting also impacts the game’s checkpointing.
This idea of modularity and customization extends to the multiplayer, for which players have two options. The first is the traditional Trine experience, which lets up to three players work together while sharing the series’ three protagonists. But a new alternative mode allows for up to four players, and removes restrictions on character-swapping, allowing duplicates for a more freeform style of play.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the core appeal of Trine, having to use the different characters to solve problems, has been compromised. Even if all four players want to bumble through a combat scenario all playing as the Knight, eventually switching will need to happen. Puzzles can and will require teamwork across all the heroes, and a new skill system that includes individual skill quests for each character provides tools you’ll need to progress.
Another intriguing new feature, one that almost didn’t come up until a Q&A session, adds cosmetic customization on top of all the gameplay options. Players can find secret rooms along their journey, which contain unlockable items they can use to personalize the heroes. This element wasn’t explicitly shown off during our hands-off preview presentation, but it sounded like there will be enough options for the team to express excitement over seeing the looks players eventually come up with.
For a while there it wasn’t clear if we’d be seeing more Trine any time soon, but it looks like there was more than enough space for a fifth entry full of new ideas. While this is all early information based on some pre-announcement presentational materials, I’m sure the bigger picture will come into focus as more information and hands-on time becomes available. Until then, fans and potential newcomers should know they’ll be able to see for themselves when Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy comes to all current platforms sometime in Summer 2023.
This preview is based on a hands-off presentation hosted by Frozenbyte and THQ Nordic via Discord.
Lucas White posted a new article, Trine 5 gets the band back together for 'A Clockwork Conspiracy'