Three’s a crowd? More like three’s a party in our Trinity Trigger review!
2023 is a year filled with some massive game releases across the three major consoles. One of the biggest titles of the year in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is right around the corner. There is still a week until that likely masterpiece arrives though… What can we possibly play to keep ourselves busy until then? How does a charming anime-inspired action-JRPG sound?
OMG IT’S SO CUUUUUUTE
Developed and published by the triumvirate of FuRyu, Three Rings, and XSEED Games, Trinity Trigger is no relation to the other JRPG with ‘Trigger’ in the title, but rather it appears to draw heavy inspiration from the classic ‘Mana‘ series. Of course, that isn’t a negative as the Mana series is great and Secret of Mana in specific is an absolute classic game of the Super Nintendo era.
Does Trinity Trigger do enough things right to deserve the honour of filling your time until Link’s next adventure is here? Let’s find out in 3… 3… 3… I mean 3… 2… 1…
Trinity Trigger Review – Story
Trinity Trigger introduces us to the world of Trinitia. A relatively non-descript fantasy world that is at the centre of an eternal war between the Gods of Chaos and the Gods of Order. Originally, these Gods fought each other with massive weapons known as ‘Arma‘. However, like me, these Gods eventually realized that there was a way that they could relax and avoid the responsibility of fighting themselves. They scattered their massive weapons around the world and took a backseat to the battle by selecting champions to fight to the death on their behalf.
Thank you for the information you Know-It-All… oh, that’s actually your name!
We pick up the adventure with a young scavenger by the name Cyan. Unbeknown to him, he is in fact his generation’s warrior of Chaos. A warrior needs a weapon and early in the adventure Cyan is saved from certain demise by the intervention of the spritely being called Flamme. Flamme is a mystical being known as a Trigger – able to morph from a cute Pokémon looking animal into a deadly weapon.
An adventurer can’t adventure alone can they? Certainly not. We soon meet two other adventurers who were able to summon their own magical triggers. The spritely Elise with her pompous trigger Oise and the hilarious Zantis and his sparking partner Rai.
Cyan and his partners’ goal is to power up their Triggers and save the world by ensuring that the Chaos vs. Order battle is avoided altogether. The typical RPG locations are all here: a forest, a swamp, underwater, a desert and an icy mountain are all traversed. We discover that the giant Arma that skewer the world are causing wild effects like the desert and icy mountain actually being right next to each other.
There are certainly some cliché JRPG moments peppered throughout this adventure, however, the story does take some interesting twists and turns through Cyan’s quest. These are unexpected give this world some unique character that can definitely be mined for some future stories if the developers see fit to do so. It’s difficult to discuss things further without reaching into spoiler territory, but I enjoyed my adventure through the world of Trinitia and the desire to see how things wrapped up was a driving force to keep playing.
Some epic battles await!
Trinity Trigger Review – Gameplay
You know what else was a driving force to keep playing the game? The action battle system. Once we head out of the starting town, the Secret of Mana-like fighting system starts to be drip-fed to us in a way that may seem a little frustrating to veterans of Mana or Y’s titles, but certainly does a good job of bringing beginners up to speed for this style of game.
Items and weapons (once more are unlocked) are accessed by pulling up a multi-tiered ring system, with the L or R buttons respectively. Accessing the ring system also pauses action in the battlefield and allows time to plan ahead if needed. Initially, Cyan only has access to a single weapon (the sword) and the modern-day staple dodge-roll that he will employ heavily throughout this adventure. Below is footage from one of the first boss battles you will encounter with only basic abilities available:
When Elise joins the team, Oise can use the form of a Bow for long distance attacks, whilst Zantis’ Trigger Rai becomes the slow swinging but powerful axe. We can quickly rotate through which character is being controlled by the player with ZL and ZR. Alternatively, Trinity Trigger allows you to bring a friend or two to play local multiplayer where everybody can control their own character. Gotta love an RPG you can share with your friends!
This definitely takes me back to playing Secret of Mana with mates in the 90’s
This trio of weapons can only get you so far though, particularly when bosses come packing a layer of armour that must be destroyed. They take much less damage unless their specific weapon weakness is attacked. Flamme, Oise and Rai are powerful triad of mystical beings. As the adventure progresses and the supernatural Arma are conquered, the Triggers unlock the ability to transform into completely new weapons.
Each weapon is wielded with three-hit combo attacks that drain the players’ stamina bar with each movement. You can still attack (and dodge roll) when stamina is depleted, but attacks are significantly weakened. The trio of attacks can be customised separately for the trilogy of Triggers. There are two (why not three?) options for each stage of the triple strike that are manually selected in the options screen. These attacks can also be upgraded with ‘TP’ earned in battle for higher power and additional effects.
Finally, each weapon has two special skills that will charge up over time. One is usually a buff (e.g., increased critical hit rate or higher damage for each attack), whereas the other will be a special attack that can decimate enemies when used correctly. Finally, there is a super powerful group attack that can be used on rare occasions for massive damage. All in all, battles later in the game become very chaotic, but they remain enjoyable and rarely are they frustrating or too difficult – as long as you remain smart about weapon selection and the equipment allocated to them.
Each Trigger can also have up to three weapon and three armour ‘manatites’ equipped to provide additional bonuses. Initially, when there are only one or two weapons for each Trigger this is easy to manage. However, it can be a little annoying later in the game when there are up to eight weapons across the three Triggers with six equipment slots each (yes, that is 144 items could have equipped by the end of the game).
I strongly recommended to focus on EXP and TP Up items to buff your team’s growth.
Outside of battle, progression into new areas is gated either through old-school RPG techniques (“Oh no! The bridge is broken!”), or via a metroidvania-esque method where a new weapon must be found before the path is unlocked. Fortunately, there is no significant backtracking required!
Thank you for the specific advice.
Exploration is made interesting by treasure chests hidden throughout towns and the wilderness. Trinity Trigger provides a super-helpful chest-counter in each area so you know if you have missed anything important.
Lets go hunting for treasure!
Trinity Trigger Review – Presentation
Presentation is simultaneously a strength and weakness of Trinity Trigger. To start with on the positive side – the in-game anime-inspired, cel-shaded graphics are charmingly presented. There is a decent level of detail in the character models, which are bright, colourful and well animated throughout. The game’s plentiful in-engine cutscenes show these off in an excellent fashion and the majority of areas in the game are also bright and clear (except for the very dark and brown swamp area).
The 2D models used for main character and NPC interactions are also great, particularly the super cute Triggers. Major NPC characters also have some great character models that give weight to Cyan’s interactions with them. Some of the choices are very JRPG cliché, but I have the suspicion that most gamers won’t mind at all.
Finally, all of the above graphical presentation is well supported by a smattering of animated cutscenes. This isn’t a AAA game presentation, but what they have been able to show here looks great. Very positive all around.
In my view, the audio presentation doesn’t fare quite as well. There is nothing here that is objectively ‘bad’, but things could certainly be better than they are. The music is just average as far as JRPGs go. Thinking back to a game I played in the past week, I can’t think of any music tracks that stick out as memorable.
Like many tracks, “Woodroot Forest Road” sounds pleasant but not memorable.
Interactions between the main characters and many of the major NPCs are fully voiced with both Japanese and English options available (that’s good!). The quality of the voice work, again, can be considered average at best (that’s bad!). The fully animated cutscenes also have full voice acting (that’s good!). For some unknown reason when the Japanese language is selected the anime cutscenes have no subtitles so I had no idea what was going on… (that’s bad!).
In terms of performance, this is a very well programmed game. Framerate is smooth and I only experienced a single event of slowdown during one particular battle with insane particle effects flying all over the place. There were no glitches to speak of and no soft-locks, hard-locks or crashes of any type. Overall, an enjoyable experience to play.
Trinity Trigger is a game of the perfect length to fill the gap until Tears of the Kingdom arrives. Smashing straight through the main story will take around 12 to 15 hours, though there are plenty of side quests and some post-game activities that can stretch gameplay by another 10 hours if you want to collect all of the treasure and fight some of the more difficult battles.
What engineer designed this?
The action battle system is definitely a highlight, mixing together the best elements of Secret of Mana (with none of the annoying charge/wait times) with Hades’ dodge-heavy movement. The ‘loot’ style item collection might have been able to be handled a bit better for what is essentially a single player game, though that is only a minor complaint.
The music and sound is a bit of a mixed bag – nothing here is ‘bad’, though some people may get a bit tired of the characters yelling during battle. Overall, this is a game well worth the short time investment if you are looking for a smooth action-JRPG with beautiful presentation to tide you over until Tears of the Kingdom fires off.
So, why should you play Trinity Trigger?
- A charming anime inspired adventure is the perfect entrée to the Switch’s main meal coming shortly
- A great battle system that allows you to customise your weaponry loadouts to your liking
But, why shouldn’t you play Trinity Trigger?
- Sub-par English voice acting gets on your nerves (though you could just play in Japanese)
- The anime/cel-shading art style isn’t really your thing
A review code on Nintendo Switch was kindly provided by FuRyu and XSEED Games for the purpose of this review. Want to keep the Trinity train rolling – check out our Nintendo Switch reviews for Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Bayonetta 3 and Persona 3 Remaster! Do you have any unanswered questions about Trinity Trigger? Reach out to us on our Discord Server!