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Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy is official and launching this "summer"

On PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and PC.

After a bit of a leak earlier this year, developer FrozenByte has made it official; acclaimed physics-based co-op platformer Trine is returning for a fifth instalment - subtitled A Clockwork Conspiracy - sometime this "summer" on PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and PC.

First things first, Trine 5 once again adopts the series' classic 2.5D side-scrolling perspective after Trine 3's ambitious, but ultimately poorly received, foray into full 3D back in 2015. That's likely a reassurance for series fans, but also makes for a new instalment that perhaps doesn't particularly distinguish itself from its predecessors at first glance.

Not that more of the same is necessarily a bad thing; Trine has carved something of a niche for itself over the years, and its platform puzzling - built around using the unique abilities of the series' wizard, knight, and thief protagonists, from heavy lifting to block conjuring and hook grappling - remains as enjoyable today as it did when the series debuted almost 15 years ago.

Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy announcement trailer.Watch on YouTube

Trine 5, then, which is said to be the longest Trine yet, will be immediately familiar to fans, with players once again taking control of the series' three returning heroes as they navigate obstacles and battle enemies across some gorgeous locations in an attempt to save the world of Trine - this time from a nefarious duo with an army of clockwork knights at their disposal.

There are, of course, new wrinkles to the formula for out number five, starting with new skills for all three characters. Amadeus the wizard, for instance, can now reverse gravity among other things, while Zoya the thief has access to ricochet arrows, and Pontius the knight gets a throwable sword to create makeshift ledges or to latch a rope onto, creating a handy bridge.

Trine has always been a pretty series, but this fifth instalment looks especially lovely.

These new core abilities, which complement returning powers from earlier games, are unlocked by completing character-specific quests and dovetail nicely with Trine 5's new upgrade system, enabling players to further expand their skills by collecting green XP points throughout their journey. These additional upgrades are primarily designed to assist in battle, introducing the likes of exploding boxes and a knock-back wind ability capable of reversing projectiles.

All this plays into a fifth instalment intended to add increased depth to the long-running series, with FrozenByte highlighting more challenging combat compared to previous games during a recent press preview, alongside a newfound emphasis on making battles - including boss fight - more "tactical and engaging", especially on harder difficulties.

FrozenByte calls Trine 5 the longest game in the series so far.

Elsewhere, new elements - including air, light, magnets, and electricity - have been introduced to make for richer puzzles, and FrozenByte has invested significant time on difficulty customisation so players can better tailor the experience to their tastes. Difficulty settings can be adjusted independently across puzzles, combat, and resurrection (which impacts lives and checkpoints), notably altering challenges and encounters. Additionally, expect markedly different experiences between solo mode - where it's necessary to switch between heroes to proceed - and simultaneous co-op, where there's greater scope for more complex interactions.

A 'normal' difficulty solo puzzle might, for instance, require the knight to carry a chunk of pipe across the room in order to create a platform in reach of a nearby ledge. On 'hard', however, players might also need to conjure a crate on top of the pipe then construct a rope bridge to clamber to their destination. But then co-op might be all change again, simply requiring players to use the knight's shield as a secondary platform.

Alongside beefier combat, Trine 5's boss fights are designed to be more "tactical and engaging".

Throw in the likes of collectable hats, robes, and backpacks hidden around stages, plus two distinct co-op modes - a classic mode for up to three players and a four-player mode utilising different combinations of characters - and there seems to be plenty going on beneath Trine 5's familiar (albeit extremely pretty) exterior to justify another outing for the series.

There's no release date for Trine 5 yet, but it's scheduled to launch for PlayStation 5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, and PC sometime this "summer".

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