Tuesday 12 November 2019

Trine 4 - The Nightmare Prince review: Puzzle heroes

(XO/PS4/PC/Sw) ★★★★★ Age: 7+

Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince
Trine 4
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Sometimes one hero just won't do. The Trine series gives you three to work with, in recognition of the gnarly puzzles you face in this unremittingly lovely 2D adventure.

There's a plot - a prince goes missing in a medieval world, something, something, yadda, yadda. But all you need to suss is the pressing need to forge ever forward to the right, using the varying abilities of your three heroes - the Trine stalwarts of wizard, thief and knight.

The wizard can conjure boxes and levitate objects, the thief can fire arrows and string ropes to distant points, the knight likes to bash, smash and trash things. Together, they conquer the terrain - yawning gaps, immovable objects, hidden treasure - swapping between each other where appropriate.

On many occasions, this translates into identifying the right "key" to fit the "lock" of each puzzle element. But this is such a robust physics simulation that some problems can be overcome with a mix of luck and ingenuity.

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Co-op introduces a new element - chaos, mostly - where up to four characters tackle puzzles. It's entertaining, sure, but degenerates into frenzied competition not gentle cooperation.

Barring some rather jarring and pointless combat sequences, Trine 4 never fails to leave a smile on your face with its wit, visual charm and brain-teasing conundrums.

Ghost Recon: Breakpoint

(XO/PS4/PC). ★★★ Age: 18+

Inadvertently, perhaps, the title puts its finger on the problem with this latest instalment of Ubisoft's "serious" military shooter. The formula that's inherent to so many Ubisoft open-world games has been stretched to breaking point to fit the fiction of Tom Clancy's vaguely futuristic world.

Ruthless mercenaries have seized a high-tech island and a raggle-taggle band of ex-military won't stand for it. The gameplay is assembled from the building blocks of other shooters, featuring a sprawling forested landmass, traversed by vehicles, aircraft and - most boringly - on foot. Go here, shoot those guys, press a button. Repeat. There's crafting, a levelling system and, of course, gear to loot.

It's unmemorable - from the locations to the action - buggy as hell and feels a world away from the reality-based simulation of the early Ghost Recons.

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