Trinity Fusion: Early Access Preview
There are two kings in the ever-growing rogue-like genre: the isometric tale of gods and loss, Hades and the Metroidvania-styled adventure starring a headless hero, Dead Cells. Both games have risen above their humble origins to become true hits in an industry usually dominated by massive open worlds and billion-dollar budgets. So it is no surprise to see games come along that try to imitate what these games did before them. Usually that ends in a game being written off as a copy, but in some cases, the game brings enough of its own flavour to stand on its own two feet. Trinity Fusion is one such game and even though it is in early access, there is quite a bit of potential here for a bright future.
Set in some sort of multiverse built by some sort of god race, Trinity Fusion tells the story of one of these gods and her three human doppelgangers, one in each of the realms under their guidance. The gods are using this connection to help prevent the collapse of the realms as the other inhabitants have risen up against the gods and thrown everything into chaos. It is all a little bit “colonial rule” for my taste but there is the promise that the story will take some nice twists and turns, moving it away from the somewhat problematic setup and into interesting territory. What this premise does allows for is three very different locations and sets of enemies, along with three different protagonists. Variety is the spice of life and it is fair to say that Trinity Fusion is plenty spicy.
The three different universes available are exciting to explore. One is an elemental world filled with ruined buildings and caves, one is an industrial-themed location with lots of lava and machinery and the final is a futuristic city with more neon and colourful palette. Players can choose which area to start their journey in (once they have unlocked them all by beating a boss in the previous location) and the character they play in each area has a different skill set so things are never quite the same. During the levels, there is also the option to merge the different doppelgangers and combine their skills (should you find the appropriate location in the randomly generated maps) so there are even more ways to mix things up mid-run.
There are all the trappings of a good rogue-like here. Gradual progression after each run, upgrades, new weapons, in-run improvements scattered throughout the levels and a skill-based combat and platforming system that encourages the player to get better as their character gets stronger. There seems to be a nice variety in pickups and boosts, so things don’t get stale and the levels are fun to explore. They borrowed the teleport system from Dead Cells, which is a blessing for those that like to explore every corner of the map before moving on and the bosses for each area are a significant challenge but don’t feel unfair or cheap in any way. For a game that is still in early access, the building blocks feel wonderfully balanced, creating a great foundation for the developers to continue to build on.
Perhaps the part of Trinity Fusion I love the most is the combat. It is tight and punishing, with a satisfying feel to every encounter. Identifying immediate threats in a group of enemies is essential and learning the different attack patterns is a must. Combat is broken down into three parts. Melee attacks with a main weapon, specialised attacks that use a meter that is charged with standard attacks and extra abilities that are picked up during each run and work on a cooldown timer. This all mixes and merges together to create a combat system that is versatile and fun to engage with. There are a host of different weapons and abilities, all of which feel unique so players are sure to find favourites, but all work well and none feel out of place.
As for worries, I have a few, but nothing that makes me think this is going to be some sort of failure between now and full release. At the moment there seems to be a limited number of boss encounters and if they are always the same, things could get old quickly. The aforementioned story also concerns me, not only for its conqueror overtones but because it seems a little unfocused and scattered. It is hard to get a read on exactly what is going on and the small drips of exposition aren’t enough to have me invested in the tale it is telling. Finally, I worry it doesn’t do enough different from Dead Cells to stand out. There is no doubt this is going to be a good rogue-like, but if it doesn’t create its own path it will forever be in the shadow of that groundbreaking title. All three of these issues could well be sorted before version 1.0 hits our computers, so there is nothing to stress about yet.
But as things stand, Trinity Fusion is shaping up quite nicely. It looks great, has a ton of variety and the combat is fun and engaging. It runs well on a range of systems and works perfectly on the Steam Deck to boot. In all I am looking forward to how this one goes through the early access period, how things change, what gets added and what needs tweaking. There is a great foundation here and if the devs can get it right, they could be onto a hit.
Trinity Fusion is available in early access on Steam right now.