There's something about Frozenbyte's Trine series that has always put a big dumb smile on my face, and Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince's gloriously colourful fairy-tale world is looking just as endearing as ever.
Publisher Modus Games are currently showcasing Trine 4 at PAX West, and have just released seven minutes of fresh footage, featuring puzzling, platforming, combat and its trio of heroes briefly delving into the fishnet-filled nightmares of a large blubbery seal wearing a fetching flower-wreath crown. As you do.
While seemingly devoid of fireball singing powers, the seal does seem to be unusually bouncy, allowing players to use it like a trampoline to navigate themselves (and some physics objects) around the level. Does that mean it's a rubber seal? Sorry, sorry. I'll get my coat.
Punny thoughts about sea life aside, the star of the show here is probably the physics-driven water. While previous Trine games have played around with it, it never looked quite right; more like large transparent blobs of jelly than a convincing liquid stream. While still not perfect, the fluid flows make for a pleasant-looking puzzle piece for the three heroes to redirect with shields and summoned blocks in order to open up new paths.
While it looks like there's the potential to brute force it, the players also treat the combat scenes shown as puzzles, too. An encounter with what looks like some kind of teleporting dire badger is cut short when the thief sets it tail alight, causing the creature to leap from its safe platform and down a bottomless pit in cheerfully cartoony fashion. I'm rather looking forward to getting my hands on this one, especially if I can get the people together for proper three-player co-op.