Trinity Trigger Review
Trinity Trigger is a action RPG developed by FuRyu and published by Marvelous Games. It plays like an indie game and is meant to be inspired by older action JRPGs such as Secret of Mana and Ys: Origin, where you move characters on an isometric map and attack on-screen enemies. Trinity Trigger is generally very light-hearted RPG with colorful dungeons, towns and plenty of NPCs. I’d especially recommend this game if you liked Secret of Mana, Ys or other similar games. The only downside of this title is that this game’s low budget does show and the 3D backgrounds you explore as well as your 3D character models don’t look that good unfortunately.
The world of Trinity Trigger is called Trinitia and has two categories of deities in its religions: The Gods of Order led by Solius of the Sun and The Gods of Chaos led by Ofnir of the Storm. It’s not necessarily good vs evil; rather, order refers to a more strict structure and maintaining the status quo and chaos refers to taking risks and having more diversity. This game does have a lot of lore, but the game does a very good job of easing you into all of the game’s terminologies and religions.
I will provide a synopsis of the first hour of the game without any spoilers beyond that. In Trinity Trigger you play as Cyan, a Scavenger, living with his sister Firn in Woodroost. While exploring a dungeon, Cyan discovers a Trigger named Flamme, an animal that allows him to use magical weapons.
One big theme of this game is fate, and Cyan was born with a crest in his eye called the Chaos Emblem and is meant to be a warrior fighting on behalf of the Chaos gods. He’s destined to fight the person who has the Law Emblem, but he doesn’t want to do this and wants to change destiny. As Cyan travels he meets Elise and Zantis who form the main party of this game. The three have very good chemistry with each other.
The first few hours of the game are a little slow until you recruit Cyan’s companions. The introductory cutscene is interesting, but the first dungeon is boring and plays very generically. I would encourage you to keep playing because the world-building really picks up afterwards and it turns into a “saving the world” plot, but I don’t mean that as a cliché at all. You get to explore very different lands and see different kinds of people. The story really picks up at Stahl and there are really amazing plot twists.
This game has an English dub. All the major story cutscenes are voiced, but content such as side quests and tutorials have no voice acting (those will only have one word of voice acting or grunting). One exception is that the two final side quests have voice acting. The dub is professionally done, and early on in the game there are actually many 2D anime cutscenes.
Exploration is done on an isometric maps divided into distinct zones. If you’ve never played Secret of Mana or don’t know what I mean, this game is like exploring an overworld in an old JRPG, in a good way. You have towns and you have dungeons that have enemies you fight directly on the map or you can just run away.
When you fight enemies, you can slash your weapon, dodge, use a Trigger attack (a powerful attack) or unleash a powerful team attack if the gauge is full. You can customize what moves you want in your basic attack combo (called Trigger Attack customization).
Your character only has so much stamina, so after unleashing some attacks you’ll have to run around until it recharges. Your dodge surprisingly doesn’t cost stamina, so you can dodge while your stamina is depleted. If you dodge right before an enemy attack hits, your stamina will be recharged as well.
Your characters will get TP from winning battles, allowing you to upgrade the attack moves used in a string. As you complete more and more dungeons, whether they’re main story or optional, you’ll get access to more types of weapons to use for each character (8 per character). This is important because all enemies and bosses are weak to some weapons and resistant to others, increasing or decreasing the damage they deal respectively. You can assign shortcuts to weapons, making switching on the fly easy and never stressful. You can switch between characters on the fly very easily as well.
There are also collectibles on the map as well, such as chests to open as well as destructible objects that give materials, such as rocks, plants, and tree roots. You can use these materials in crafting, or you can outright buy certain consumables for a higher price if you don’t have the materials.
My currency in this game wasn’t that useful because you can’t buy the highest tier healing items with money. You have to craft them, so you need to be careful how you use your materials otherwise you’ll have to grind. You can’t even buy them in the post-game. I ended up just spamming low tier potions to heal my characters so that I could buy them again, rather than have to grind mobs to get materials to craft higher tier potions. I saved the high-tier potions for the worst bosses.
I did notice one oversight when exploring. In a tight dungeon floor with stairs, I was fighting enemies next to a set of stairs and one of my AI companions went down the floor themselves while trying to find a path to the enemy, causing me to automatically go down the floor. I would assume if you were playing co-operatively having one of the players go through stairs would make all players go through the stairs, but I was playing with only AI controlled companions so this surprised me.
The dungeons weren’t grueling, and most of the time if you need to run out to buy potions you can generally just run through most of the enemies with the exception of a room or two with mandatory enemies and the dungeons generally had teleporters before the boss fight, allowing you to escape if you can’t beat the boss.
The puzzles in the dungeons were never too hard either, with a “Lights Out” style puzzle game in one of the dungeons and sliding block puzzles in another. The sliding block puzzles were created in an extremely safe way in this title because you can only slide the blocks in the correct positions. The developers should’ve taken more risks with the puzzles and let the players trap themselves but offer a button to reset the puzzle or something similar. The ice dungeons were fun, where you unlock weapons to destroy icicles and you have to be careful of your movement, otherwise you would slide into hazardous environments.
The loading screens when playing on a PS5 were pretty much instantaneous and you get the option to warp between areas, making traveling very efficient.
One big pet peeve I had was the quantity of mimic chests in this game. I’d say half of the treasure chests or even more in the dungeons are mimic chests, which are chests that turn into enemies to fight you, and they do deal pretty heavy damage if you get hit by their teeth. There were just too many mimic chests, to the point where I’d instinctively dodge after opening any chest so that I wouldn’t get sucker punched if the chest was a mimic.
There isn’t a traditional weapon or armor system in the game. You can’t directly equip equipment, you can only add Manatite to slots in your weapon/armor, which increases as you progress the game. You use materials from the field or from defeating enemies to craft Manatite. Manatite essentially add effects to your weapon and armor, allowing you to create any kind of build you want.
For instance, I hated using so many potions while I was exploring dungeons, so I put one that allowed me to absorb enemy HP when defeating enemies. I found that most of the enemies in the game had low health and were great in quantity, allowing me to tank hits and keep healing after defeating them. But there are other types of Manatite as well, such as increasing gold or experience dropped or increasing your attack or defense to name a few.
You can get random extra bonuses when crafting Manatite, but it’s random, meaning if you want the bonuses you have to save and reload constantly or grind for materials to craft more items. I don’t like save-scumming and I think it would’ve been better if it was tackled differently, such as if you had a higher chance for the bonus if you did more of the craftswomen’s side quests.
My big criticism is that Manatite is unique for each weapon for each character. When you progress the story, you can equip 6 Manatite to a single weapon. That’s 6 slots for each of the 9 weapons for each of the 3 characters. If you want to optimize everything, it will be very grindy and stressful.
Bosses will have weaknesses to certain weapons, and some bosses will change their weapon weakness every few minutes too, so you do need to have Manatite equipped to the weapon you’re currently using for bonuses. You can brute force your way through the game without changing weapons, but it’ll be harder because you’re not striking the enemy’s weakness, so you’ll deal reduced damage. For me, it was too stressful to keep micromanaging my upgrades to that extent and I had a very good unique Manatite I couldn’t craft duplicates of. I ended up just having 6 Manatite I would like to use, and if the boss had a different weapon weakness, I’d go into the menu right there and transfer the 6 Manatite from one weapon to another.
The bosses in this game have an armored guard bar and a health bar. In order to damage their health you need to reduce their armored bar, which causes the boss to get staggered when depleted, but it regenerates after a few seconds. I didn’t really like this system, I would’ve rather have just been able to reduce the boss’s health bar directly. Most bosses were fair, though I didn’t like some bosses that spammed projectiles like the final boss. Some bosses had a very short time before the armor bar regenerated again too, making it more frustrating. It’s the worst feeling when the boss has a sliver of health left, but you need to take down another armor bar to defeat them.
The side quests were well-done. They were mostly generic fetch quests, but some of the side quests with major characters in the main story had interesting dialogue. This game does have good quality of life improvements over old JRPGs because all side quests are marked on the map when they’re available (you don’t need to talk to all NPCs to randomly guess if they have a side quest available). The warp system easily lets you get back to both villages and dungeons alike. You do need to re-visit dungeons because you’ll unlock further floors as you progress the story but you can just warp where you left off.
There are plenty of side quests and they give you a chance to defeat more enemies and gain more experience before moving onto the next story area. This game had no difficulty options, but you could get under-leveled and unlucky, so I did side quests to ensure I wasn’t under-leveled and to get more materials. If you die to a boss, it reduces their armor bar by 10% per retry up to a maximum of 50%. There are a total of 51 side quests spread throughout the game, 33 in the main game and 18 in the post-game.
Interestingly, this game has a great post-game with a unique storyline with the final two side quests being fully voiced. I can’t speak much about it because it is full of spoilers, but I felt that the last third or so of the game was lacking because you visit an city destroyed by monsters and there wasn’t much to do except grind for materials. The side quests in the post-game actually go over this and show characters from that city and I was surprised that it wasn’t included in the main storyline, it could’ve been integrated seamlessly in my opinion. The post-game is very well done, it does have generic “kill the boss” kind of quests where it recycles bosses from the main story who are tougher, but you get to explore the final floors of the dungeons you previously explored, so it felt like a nice conclusion.
One annoyance is that the companion AI is pretty terrible. I wish there were party tactics to let you control your party without having to switch to them. Some of them are very simple mechanics too, such as them never being able to use weapon aura or trigger strike, meaning I’d always see them with full bars they’d never make use of. If you have a friend or two to play the game with I guarantee your experience will be a lot more fun, but the game is definitely playable and fun if you’re the only one playing too.
The 2D illustrations used for the characters do look great, but they do lack variety and often the artist would just change the mouth expression while keeping the same pose. It might’ve been better if the character designs were a bit more simple so that they could have a higher quantity of different poses to allow the cast to convey different emotions.
Trinity Trigger is a homage to classic RPGs such as Secret of Mana. It has a great cast of characters and good plot twists, though the simplicity of the game, the graphics, and the grinding for materials can be lackluster at times. The gameplay is addicting at first, but it can get repetitive after a while and although the art direction is great, sometimes the overworld and dungeons can feel very simple. I did make many criticisms of the game because the game is unfortunately rough around the edges, but it is a very entertaining game if you’re into retro action JRPGs, it has a great English dub which is getting rarer for JRPGs, and it has one of the best post-games I’ve seen in a recent release and is brimming with content.
- The characters are likeable and have great interactions. The story is amazing, even if the beginning cutscene gives away a lot it’s still full of plot twists that subvert JRPG tropes.
- The combat is easy to get a hang of and the game is accessible to newcomers. The co-op gameplay is extremely fun if you have a friend or two to play with.
- It has good quality of life improvements from old-school JRPGs such as marking side quests as soon as they appear.
- The game has good length, taking 25 hours for the main story. The game has substantial post-game content that can take another 10-15 hours to complete.
- The graphics aren’t good and the dungeons are very limited in scope.
- The crafting system is good; however, it can be grindy at times for end-game content and micromanaging 9 weapons on 3 characters can be too daunting at times.
- The companions’ AI is pretty terrible, and the game should’ve had a “party tactics” menu to allow you to control your other party members.
– Brandon Harris
Reviewed on Playstation 5
The limited edition version of the game can be pre-ordered on the NIS America website.