Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy is the longest and most challenging Trine game yet
The fantasy co-op puzzler returns for a fifth instalment
The Trine series is returning for a fifth instalment, developers Frozenbyte have announced today, and it's arriving on PC sooner than you might think. Launching later this summer, Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy sees the return of the co-op puzzle game's three famous heroes - Pontius the knight, Amadeus the wizard and Zoya the thief - as they tackle a mechanical clockwork army headed up by two dastardly villains trying to ruin the trio's good name. Come and watch the reveal trailer below.
Much like Trines 1, 2 and 4, Trine 5 will be reprising the series' long-held 2.5D perspective for its physics-based puzzle platforming, as well as offering local and online co-op options for up to four players. Frozenbyte say they're introducing a lot of new puzzle elements in A Clockwork Conspiracy, including fire, air, light, magnets and electricity to name just a few, and I'm excited to see how these all play out with Trine's typically gorgeous visuals and high fantasy art direction.
Frozenbyte have also tried to make the combat "more challenging" this time round, with marketing manager Kai Tuovinen telling RPS the clockwork knights will "give the heroes a good run for their money". As a result, they're hoping battles will be more tactical than previous entries, and boss fights will be a stronger blend of puzzling, platforming and fighting.
They've also experimented with a lot of different difficulty options for Trine 5, and the regular puzzles you'll be solving on the way to those boss fights may vary depending on what setting you choose, and whether you decide to play in solo or co-op mode. "We've tailored the puzzles to fit both single player, with different difficulty settings, as well as co-op play," says Tuovinen, "so when you play the game solo you'll have some different puzzles than if, for example, you play with other players."
To illustrate this, Tuovinen showed me the same scene on Normal, Hard and co-op mode in a hands-off Discord presentation. Set in a dark, dingy village, it starts with Amadeus attempting to get across a sea of wooden spikes and onto a large sewer pipe. On Normal, the boxes he's able to conjure form capable makeshift platforms as he jumps across the large gaps (although a grapple ring for Zoya's an equally valid option if you prefer), and his levitating ability means he's able to quickly pop a broken off bit of pipe in place to form another platform upwards to continue forward.
On Hard, that broken bit of pipe is now too short to form an adequate platform, as the edge of the house above him now juts out a lot further than it did on Normal. Instead, Tuovinen conjures a fresh box on top of it, and then switches to Zoya to create a tightrope with that grapple ring I mentioned earlier, giving them more than enough space to haul themselves upwards. And then in co-op, the jutting out building remains, but the gap for that extra box is now gone, causing players to use Pontius' shield as a makeshift platform as he hangs off that broken pipe.
As you'd expect from a sequel, each hero has a slew of new abilities to play with for Trine 5, which are unlocked via new character-specific skill quests, and separate upgrade trees using experience points. The former will be scattered throughout the game, according to Tuovinen, and some will be "necessary" to progress further in the game. He only tells me about a couple of these new skills during the presentation, but Pontius the knight will be able to throw his sword to create small platforms, for example, while Zoya's learned the art of ricochet arrows, allowing her to hit targets out of her line of sight. Amadeus, on the other hand, can reverse gravity, make his boxes explode and join objects together, but there will be many more to dig into for all three in the final game.
Indeed, when I ask Tuovinen what the team has focused on most for Trine 5, he says they wanted to put a greater emphasis on using more heroes simultaneously this time round, rather than falling into the same character patterns. Indeed, previous Trine games I've played have often relied on the knight for combat and the wizard for puzzle-solving, for example, but this time Frozenbyte say they've been careful to try and avoid this.
"We wanted to really balance out the game so that you're really using the three different heroes for a variety of things," he tells me. "So [you're using] the knight for puzzles, the wizard for combat and the thief for both of these things. Especially with some of the puzzles, we really wanted to use a combination of all three heroes in a way that we probably haven't done before to this extent, so there's a lot of good challenge for players."
Frozenbyte are also calling it the longest Trine game yet - which I'm guessing will put it beyond the 12-hour mark, judging by HowLongToBeat.com's estimate for the current Trine length leaderboard holder, which is Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince at 10-12 hours for the main story plus extras.
All in all, I'm well excited for another Trine game, and A Clockwork Conspiracy looks to be just the thing the series needs to shake it out of its doldrums. We don't know exactly when Trine 5 will be arriving during the summer just yet, but we'll keep you up to date as soon as we do.