While most of the popular E3 games are set for a 2020 release, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is something we can look forward to this year. It's slated for a Fall 2019 release, and had a pretty finished-looking demo on the E3 show floor. Attendees were treated to a level starring the knight Pontius in which he partook in light platforming, some sword slashing, and a lot of redirecting light beams with his shield. It felt like Trine at its Trine-iest, and it was sublime.
You may have heard something of the Trine series, a top-selling indie game on both Steam and consoles. The first two games combined a gorgeous fairy tale setting with 2D puzzle solving. Trine 3, however, broke the budget by trying to take the series into 3D. The developer ended up moving the game from Early Access to full release after a few months, but the finished product left many players with a bad taste. It seems like Trine 4 means to correct the situation by returning to 2.5D, albeit with some of the best visuals the series has ever had.
The E3 demo showed this beauty off in spades, starting Pontius off in a pumpkin patch at sundown. The lighting really sold the scene, giving a warm glow to the peaceful scene. As the action moved to the haunted mansion of a ghostly knight, the lighting also served a gameplay purpose. Pontius comes to the silly deduction that being in a haunted mansion before sundown is a genius move, and he's actually right. The last strands of sunlight that peek through the broken ceiling can be reflected off of Pontius' shield. This lets him dispel the corrupting powers of the undead knight.
It's a nostalgic bit of old-school platforming/puzzle solving fusion like something out of a Nintendo game. It's easy to understand and yet gets applied in several creative ways. I won't spoil it in case you play the game yourself this fall, but the sunlight came into play during the final battle in a very satisfying way.
Talking to the Modus representative, I did learn that there will be some new things. A four-player co-op mode seperate from the main mode is in the works, as are some new abilities for the heroes. There's also a crossover of sorts involving the titular Nightmare Prince, who actually hails from a game called Nine Parchments.
In the end, though, Trine 4 looks like a conscious effort to continue the series from where it started, rather than attempt any mind-blowing innovation. If that means more clever 2D puzzles seen through an even more dazzling lens, I think players will be very happy.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince will release this fall for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.