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Video Game / Trine

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From left to right: Amadeus, Zoya and Pontius
"By my trousers, I must escape!"
Amadeus, at the start of the game

Trine is a 2009 Puzzle Platformer developed by Frozen Byte and published by Atlus. It features gameplay similar to the old classic The Lost Vikings mixed with the physics challenges of LittleBigPlanet, with three characters who all have different powers and gameplay mechanics. The levels are mostly linear, but exploring them thoroughly will yield rewards in the form of treasure (which gives you special enhancements) and experience vials (which let you level up your skills).

Three characters, opposed by an undead horde, each find themselves meeting face to face over an Ancient Artifact called the Trine. Their souls are sucked into the device, and they become merged into one body (or up to three bodies in co-op play).

The Game was followed by

  • Trine 2 (2011): A sequel revolving around a new threat that the three heroes must unite together to face. The game received an expansion, Goblin Menace, in early 2012.
  • Trine: Enchanted Edition (2014): A port of the original game to the sequel's engine and released as a free update for PC owners and on two eighth generation consoles, the Wii U and the PlayStation 4.
  • Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power (2015)
  • Nine Parchments (2017): A spin-off set in the same universe.
  • Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince (2019)
  • Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy (2023)

Now with a Characters page, please add tropes regarding them there.

This game provides examples of:

  • 2½D: 3D graphics, sidescrolling movement. This occasionally gets you an odd camera angle that lets you see something that should be Behind the Black. Averted in Trine 3, which adopts full 3D movement, although with a fixed camera.
  • Acid Pool: Present in some levels, full of aquamarine Hollywood Acid.
  • Acrofatic: Don't mind Pontius' stature fool you, he can be fast and hurt large groups of enemies with his charge attack. The fourth game gives him a shield charge/shoulder check ability which is more like a Foe-Tossing Charge at Flash Step speed!
  • Antagonist Title: Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince
  • Anti-Villain: The Prince from Trine 4 is mostly just a scared kid who can't control his magic. Even his antagonistic actions are mostly just him lashing out because he doesn't want to be locked up in the Astral Academy's dungeons again.
  • Apocalyptic Log: In Trine 2, the poems found in secret areas and the letters between Isabel and Rosabel. The poems are written by Rosabel detailing her jealously of her sister during their youth, while the letters explain how she lured Isabel into being sealed away.
  • Arrows on Fire: Zoya's alternate weapon. Upgrading them gives you an explosive shot.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The skeletons in Trine have a habit of leaping to their deaths and/or climbing into the range of your weapons. Exploiting their simplistic behavior patterns makes them easier to take down in large groups. The goblins in Trine 2 are faster (allowing them to usually get some hits in if you're not quick enough) and no longer jump to their deaths, but are just as quick to run themselves into Zoya's arrows or Pontius' blade or hammer as the skeletons were.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Trine 2 has the heroes run through lands with a variety of larger-then-usual fauna, including giant frogs, snails and spiders, not to mention giant mushrooms to bounce off of. The characters believe that the water is likely the source of the huge wildlife.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • In Trine 2, with the exception of the knight's hammer, the heroes are conspicuously missing all the skills they learned, not to mention the items they used, from the original, and have to learn those skills all over again (the item system, on the other hand, was done away with in 2). Lampshaded by a conversation that takes place after the first time the characters swim in the sequel:
    Amadeus: Whatever happened to that magical talisman that allowed us to breathe underwater?
    Zoya: I...uh... I think someone hocked it.
    • In Trine 3, many of the old abilities are absent (no more hammer, planks, fire arrows, magnetism...) but no word is made about it.
  • Beary Friendly: One of the levels in Trine 4 has a huge bear that mostly exists to be adorable and occasionally help you out by knocking over a log. The end credits show Zoya riding around on its back, picking apples.
  • Behind the Black: Ninety percent of all treasure is hidden by the foreground.
  • Benevolent Architecture: More or less omnipresent. For fun, try playing through a level without using the Wizard's object-summoning powers once. You may be surprised how far you can get with running and jumping alone.
  • Big Brother Bully: In Trine 4, the Prince has brothers who bully him by hiding spiders in his bead and locking him outside the house after telling "tall tales" about wolves roaming the heath. Presumably, his parents never did anything to correct his brothers' behavior. This likely contributed to his nightmares conjuring up spiders and wolves whenever he gets frightened.
  • Blackground: In Trine 2, the Final Boss battle takes place in a dungeon with a pitch-black background, allowing it to be seen clearly.
  • Bottomless Pits: In both games which will lead to an untimely demise to anything that fall in it.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Aside from the Insistent Terminology example below, the demo for the sequel features Amadeus commenting on the abilities available in the upgrade menu (which naturally, can't be used in the demo).
  • Building Swing: Technically not from buildings, but Zoya has a grappling hook that allows her to do this from anything made of wood, bypassing pits or swinging into foes for a One-Hit Kill in the first two games.
  • Cain and Abel: Isabel and Rosabel in the backstory for 2. Isabel was the heir to their father's kingdom, to Rosabel's chagrin. On their 18th birthday, Rosabel locked away her sister and usurped the kingdom for herself.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The first game has an item that lets you do this in the event you run out of magic points.
  • Clock Punk: About 75% of the levels feature gear powered mechanisms, and plenty of fast flowing water to power them. Some are just for show, others can be interacted with. In addition, all of Amadeus' objects have gears inside them.
  • Crate Expectations: They don't contain items, but they're common platforms. Amadeus's first spell allows him to summon them - possibly above enemies' heads, if you're feeling violent; Trine 3 turns it into an outright ability, as you can make a summoned crate or another levitating object slam into the ground.
  • Cut Short: With just seven main levels, a boss level and a few small single-character "sidequests", Trine 3 closes with a cliffhanger what looks like only the first part of a longer story. After the release, Frozenbyte adamantly admitted they had run out of money to produce further content.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: And a free teleport back to the last checkpoint, too, unless it's the final or bonus levels of the original. For that matter, every time you touch a checkpoint stone, all dead characters are revived with 75% health and mana.
    • More so in the sequel, where characters are returned with full health, and mana was removed from the game entirely. Makes it entirely feasible to kill off a character to backtrack faster, or to grab items in dangerous positions without even bothering coming back up.
    • In 3, if a character dies his/her spirit goes to the last safe ground before death, and another character must stay near it a few seconds to revive the companion. Only if all three are dead the player is sent back to the latest checkpoint.
    • The fourth game has possibly the least punishment for death of the whole series, with characters coming back to life just a few seconds after death if they aren't in combat. If they are in combat, it has the same "stay near the spot of their death" mechanic as 3.
  • Dem Bones: 95% of the enemies in the first game are of this variety.
  • The Dragon: In Trine 2, Rosabel has a literal one at her command.
  • Dungeon Bypass:
    • This trope is Amadeus' shtick. It's not terribly difficult to simply build a block staircase to the exit in every level. Or, if you have the touch, scooting Amadeus onto an object which he conjures or levitates into midair allows him to use it as a Double Jump. Amadeus can't levitate an object he's standing on, but create another object on top of that, jump on the upper object and carefully levitate the lower, and you can cheerfully sail past most puzzles. In 3 he cannot conjure more than one crate at a time, but the trick is still usable: just jump, and quickly move the crate while he's not touching it.
    • Pontius uses his sword and/or hammer to destroy obstacles in your path and, in the second game, by using his kitesail shield upgrade to glide over them. Zoya can also make things explode by shooting them with upgraded fire arrows and can bypass fights by sniping opponents behind obstacles or offscreen.
  • Easter Egg: In Trine 4, there's a rather cheeky one to Trine 3 after you collect all the knickknacks. The hidden room that can be accessed by doing so contains an in-universe book detailing its events, but the dog inside had chewed up and drooled on all the pages past their adventures in the Redwood Forest, alluding to its unfinished story.
  • Eldritch Abomination: There's a huge...thing that inhabits the aptly named Eldritch Caverns in the second game. We don't see its entire body, just that it seems to have these huge eyes on stalks.
  • Elite Mook: Armored skeletons with shields in the original, armored goblins and dual wielding fire sword goblins in the secpmd game, and the large nightmares in the fourth game.
  • Excuse Plot: The original: an ancient trinket unites three people into one body for whatever reason, there's multiple levels and undead between you and where you need to be. Charge!
  • The Faceless:
    • Zoya never removes her mask in the first game. She takes it off in the sequel.
    • Margaret, throughout Goblin Menace, spends most of the expansion stuffed in a burlap sack. She's freed at the very end of the expansion, but the only glimpse the player gets to see of her is a shot of her back during the ending cutscene.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: As the character lineup above shows, you get to play as all three of these classes.
  • Final Boss Preview:
    • The Lich makes several appearances in the first game before the final confrontation with him. You also occasionally hear his Evil Laugh.
    • In Trine 2, the Dragon first appears at the end of Mosslight Marsh.
    • Averted with the final boss of 3, which can be considered a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere.
  • Floating Platforms: Amadeus final spell is conjuring these. There's also a loophole; he can't levitate a regular platform he's standing on, but he can levitate a platform with a box on top of it that he's standing on.
  • Fungus Humongous: In both games. In the sequel, they serve as springboards for the characters to bounce off of.
  • Fusion Dance: Sort of. Each character retains their individual personality, and they can switch from one form to another at will.
  • Giant Mook: Very large skeletons and troglodyte-esque creatures serve as boss monsters in the first two games (with the exception of Rosabel's dragon in the sequel).
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Lich, the tower he lives in and any relevance either has to the ongoing plot pop up out of nowhere just before the ending levels.
    • The final boss of Trine 3 is a wild plant monster which appears with no foreshadowing, nor shows any connections to the Big Bad.
  • Giant Spider: They crawl along walls and spit webbing at anyone who draws near. The sequel features even bigger spiders that shoot acid instead.
  • Goomba Stomp: In the original, the portly Pontius can do this to any unfortunate skeleton below him - although he has to fall a significant distance first.
  • Grand Theft Me: In Trine 4, The Prince's Shadow plans to do this to the prince.
  • Hobbits: In the fourth installment, you meet an anthropomorphic badger whose house is a sideways burrow in a hill with a sizeable kitchen and pantry.
  • Hot Witch: Rosabel in Trine 2.
  • Insistent Terminology: During the level-loading exposition for the first level of Trine 2, Zoya actually interrupts the narrator when he calls her a thief and insists on being called an "entrepreneur" instead.
  • King Mook: The Goblin King in 2.
  • Interface Spoiler: In Trine 3, if all three characters (or the only character you have in some levels) die, a screen asking if you want to continue or go back to the map appears, with a very sinister face. It's the Big Bad, so you may see him long before he's revealed.
  • Large Ham:
    • Done on purpose. The narration and dialogue is brilliantly over-the-top; the page quote is just the beginning. The sequel somehow is even more hammy and self-aware, as the Insistent Terminology example above shows.
    • The Big Bad of 3 chews the scenery when he first reveals himself to the heroes.
  • Lava Pit: Replace the Bottomless Pits in the final levels of the first game.
  • Left Hanging: The plot of the third game is never resolved, with Trine 4 going on to show a totally unrelated story. This is lampshaded in 4, with there being an unlockable room on the main menu that has the story of how they managed to beat the antagonist of Trine 3, but all the pages detailing events after what is seen in Trine 3 have been torn to shreds by a dog.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Amadeus is definitely the one who profits the most from leveling up in the first game. Picking up new combat skills, multiple arrow shots, a Flaming Sword? Nifty. The ability to summon more and more platforms in a physics-based platformer? Invaluable.
  • Living Dream: Every enemy in Trine 4 is a living nightmare conjured by the Prince's uncontrolled magic.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Pontius and the armored skeletons and goblins. Pontius' shield is indestructable, as is the goblins' - the skeletons are not so fortunate.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: Pontius the Mighty Glacier guy and Zoya the agile, sneaky thief woman.
  • Meaningful Name: A trine is a 120-degree angle; i.e., one-third of a circle.
  • Multishot: Zoya's upgraded basic attack in the first game. It's also a variety of Spread Shot.
  • Nameless Narrative: The main characters are given names on the inventory screen, but only in the very last minutes of the game is any character named in dialogue or narration (that character being Margaret, Amadeus's wife.) Instead, they're referred to by their professions. Averted in Trine 2; the characters address each other by name, and the narrator refers to them by their names as well.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In 3, after being spirited away by the Trine once more, the heroes admit being fed up with it and try to find a way to be free from it. They end up involuntarily shattering it and releasing the evil it was made to contain.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Averted in the first game, leading to, optionally, Zoya riddling with arrows foes who are stuck on the other side of a box or terrain.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Pontius and Amadeus want to save the world, but Zoya just wants to claim any available treasure.
  • One-Word Title: Trine is named for the artifact the protagonists were fighting over, and being "tri", Latin for 3, and you play as three protagonists.
  • Opening Narration: Used to describe the backstory of the game. There is also a narration at the beginning of each level, as well as for each character that's introduced. For those interested in minor Script Breaking in the first game, Amadeus's introductory narration can play at the same time as the narration for when he arrives at the shrine, if the player is fast enough in the two rooms.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: The primary enemies the characters run into in the second game.
  • Party in My Pocket: Technically, party in my body, but the same principle applies.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Averted; levels can be revisited in the "Choose level" option in the main menu, and puzzle progress is reset at each revisit, so you get additional opportunities to get into areas that you may have missed or were made inaccessible progressing during your first visit. Becomes a necessity in 3, since you need a certain number of trineangles to unlock further levels.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: In the ending of 2, Isabel is holding Rosabel's dead body in this way.
  • Playing with Fire: Amadeus begins the game trying and failing to learn how to do this - it's apparently one of the most basic spells available to wizards. In the end he gives up trying to learn it - and instead, the kids he has with his wife learn it instead. He's revealed to still be studying to get it right as the second game starts, and in 3 one of the single-character sidequests has him desperately looking for a fireball spell in a dream.
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • The dragon at the end of Trine 2.
    • There's a snake near the beginning that you can't defeat on your own. You have to damage the ceiling by attacking the supports or by tricking the snake into doing so, causing it to collapse on the snake.
    • The Seal's Nightmare and the witch from Amadeus's nightmares in Trine 4.
  • Puzzle Pan: Used to avoid Leap of Faith gameplay.
  • Rain of Arrows: With the right upgrades and items, Zoya is capable of this.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Amadeus is clad in this.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In Trine 3 it's revealed that the Trine and the other two similar artifacts were made to contain a powerful evil wizard.
  • Scenery Porn: This is one of the two calling cards of the series, along with the physics-focused gameplay.
  • Selective Magnetism: In Goblin Menace, Amadeus can gain the ability to make any metallic object stick to other metal objects. Trine 4 also lets you unlock this ability for Pontius's Dream Shield.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Skeletons later in the game might hold shields, which allow them to absorb a few more hits before they go down.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The second level in Goblin Menace.
  • Shout-Out: In the Eldritch Caverns of Trine 2, there are many statues in the background of a tentacle-faced being
  • Siege Engines: The final boss of Goblin Menace. It's loudly stated to bring down cities and the heroes of Trine fight it on foot and they win.
  • The Soulless: Mind, body, and soul are normally kept in harmony by three artifacts, creating life in the region. Now that the soul artifact is gone, the undead are being created instead, as they have minds and bodies but no souls.
  • Spike Balls of Doom: Some pressure plates release balls instead of unlocking something.
  • Spikes of Doom: An integral part of level design; you can stick boxes onto them and use them as platforms.
  • Succession Crisis: The backdrop of the original game. This is not unrelated to why the undead rise...
  • Super Drowning Skills: The undead suffer from this. Ditto the goblins in the sequel.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Your characters can hold their breath for an impressive amount of time; what's more, you can switch between characters to save on oxygen for the whole group. The original game even has an equipable item that allows one (and only one) of the heroes to swim underwater indefinitely.
  • Swap Fighter: In single player, Amadeus, Zoya, and Pontius are merged into one body, with the ability to switch between who is active at will.
  • Sweet Seal: A seal shows up in a level of Trine 4, and is as friendly as it is adorable.
  • Updated Re-release: Trine: Enchanted Edition, a port of the original game to Trine 2's engine, giving it mid-level saving, Internet play and other features from the sequel.
  • Wall Jump: Available in the sequel, but very short—about half the height of one character.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Amadeus has almost no combat abilities. That said, his skills are necessary for puzzle solving.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The first game's ending. Pontius becomes the ale provider for the new king, Zoya is named the protector of the forest the trio visited during the game, and Amadeus gets married and becomes the father of triplets who, at age one, learn the fireball spell he could never master. The sequel reveals that this situation didn't last long.
  • Wicked Witch: One of the bosses from Trine 4 is a witch from a recurring nightmare Amadeus used to have, and she fits many of the trope requirements. Her face apparently bears an uncanny resemblance to his wife.
  • Wreaking Havok: A big selling point of the original was the physics-based puzzles. The sequels continue this, making some experience collectibles only available by playing around with the game's physics.

Alternative Title(s): Trine 2