Game reviewed on PC. Review copy provided courtesy of Frozenbyte.
Due to the progression of my disease, I tend to avoid the platforming genre. The precise timing coupled with a general lack of customizable controls makes for an inaccessible mess. Yet, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is one of the most entertaining, accessible puzzle-solving platformers I’ve played in years, keeping me entertained for hours on end.
Developed by Frozenbyte, and published by Modus Games, Trine 4 places players in the hands of Amadeus, Pontius, and Zoya as they traverse stunningly beautiful landscapes to rescue a young prince with dangerous ties to magic. In order to effectively complete each stage, the trio must utilize their unique character powers to create platforms, scale walls, and bash through structures, all while simultaneously acquiring collectibles.
With a bevy of abilities assigned to the heroes, each with a corresponding button, Trine 4 offers extensive physical accessibility features. For starters, every key can be customized, with only ‘Tab,’ ‘Enter,’ and ‘Escape’ having fixed inputs. Furthermore, disabled individuals can place multiple actions onto a single key. This was especially helpful when playing as Zoya the thief, or Pontius the knight. Rather than bind a total of four keys, I equipped Zoya’s fire and ice arrows, as well as Pontius’ varying shield skills to ‘F’ and ‘R’ respectively. Since players are only able to play as a single hero at any given time, the ‘F’ and ‘R’ talents never conflicted with one another.
While the capability to customize every key is a welcome sight, Trine 4 may become challenging for some when playing as Amadeus the wizard. Amadeus can conjure several shapes to create new pathways, a necessary power when attempting to complete levels or collect items. Much like Zoya and Pontius, players can create different shapes by pressing a corresponding key. However, Trine 4 offers an option that enables individuals to physically draw different shapes with the mouse, thus allowing Amadeus to spawn varying objects. For disabled players that have difficulty holding buttons, pressing a key is an excellent substitute. Yet, if players, much like myself, are unable to utilize much of their keyboard, they must sacrifice a limited number of keys to effectively play as Amadeus.
Unfortunately, Amadeus’ accessibility barriers do not end with customizing his abilities. Whether players choose to draw shapes, or press a specific key, it is impossible to avoid holding a button, especially when levitating natural or conjured shapes. Amadeus is unique in the sense that he can create new pathways by levitating objects onto new areas. Thankfully, Trine 4 is not timed, meaning that players can rest indefinitely to recuperate their strength. I didn’t mind taking breaks, and often treated them as a pseudo-reward. After a particularly difficult puzzle, I would often sit and enjoy the gorgeous scenery.
Trine 4 is not merely a puzzle-solving platformer. Throughout the campaign, players encounter shadow beasts and bosses that require problem-solving to effectively eliminate. While smaller mobs can be dispatched by simply shooting them with Zoya’s arrows, or slicing them with Pontius’ sword, bosses usually need abilities from every hero to properly defeat. If disabled players become exhausted throughout the fight, they can sacrifice their character to indefinitely pause the game. The unconventional breaks often granted me enough strength to complete the challenging fights.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is one of the most satisfying games I’ve played in recent years. Its overall pacing, as well as extensive customization options, create a nearly perfect experience for physically disabled players. Despite the occasional accessibility barrier courtesy of Amadeus, I cannot recommend this title enough.
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