Review: Trinity Trigger Is a Charming Comfort RPG

There’s a lot to be celebrate about a humble comfort RPG. It’s the kind of RPG that doesn’t make a big fanfare about itself. It doesn’t revolutionize the genre, but builds on what works. The kind of RPG that adopts all the tropes of the genre and wears them proudly on its sleeve. Trinity Trigger is the embodiment of such a game.

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It’s something Three Rings, the developers of Trinity Trigger, openly admit. It’s right there on all the store pages that it’s a throwback to old-school RPGs. The team succeeded on that front too. I could easily believe this was a forgotten gem from the PS1 era, if it wasn’t for the voice acting not being terrible.

Trinity Trigger takes place in a world held in the thrall of a battle between the gods of Chaos and Order. Every so often, chosen warriors bearing the emblems of the gods are born. Their destiny is to fight to the death, with the winner ushering in a new age dominated by their respective god. Cyan, our protagonist, discovers he is one of these warriors when an oracle named Elise shows up. She tells him that his Chaos Warrior status has him marked for death, so they head out into the world for his protection and for him to learn more. Eventually they are joined by a third warrior, Zantis, who has been mysteriously sent to help.

Trinity Trigger Party

All three members of the party are aided by Triggers, little Pokemon-like creatures that can turn into weapons after they’ve been exposed to special altars. Much of the game involves you venturing into dungeons known as Armas, all shaped like gigantic weapons. Inside each one you find altars that turn your buddy into a tiny version of that weapon. As the game progresses, each member of the party will build up an arsenal of eight weapons they can switch between on the fly.

Each weapon is useful in its own way too. Every enemy in the game has strengths and weaknesses against different weapons, and switching between them to maximize your damage output is key to victory. These are marked by either big red numbers that indicate a weakness to that weapon, while tiny blue numbers indicate an immunity to that weapon.

It’s a fun little combat system. It’s entirely in real-time, with each character having simple combos for each weapon and a dodge roll. Weapons are switched using a weapon wheel tied to the right shoulder button, and the left shoulder button provides an item wheel of pre-arranged healing, buffing, and status-managing items. It’s a simple, yet intuitive, system that only got more fun as the game progressed. Eventually, muscle memory had me hopping in and out of these wheels in a flash.

Trinity Trigger Combat

The three-person party is also fully controllable. Tapping the triggers will switch between characters instantly, while the AI handles the other two. If this isn’t good enough, you can bring a friend or two in co-op instead. I can’t speak to how much fun the game is in co-op, as I didn’t get an opportunity to test it in my time with the game. However, there are definitely a few issues with the AI-controlled characters.

AI characters will never switch weapons themselves, which often means some battles can open with you switching between each character just to stop them punching a slime monster for next to no damage. They’re also not brilliant at dodging, and I felt like I was eating through health items because neither of my other two party members seemed to get out of the way of an enemy sword or claw. This is a minor issue though, simply because it’s easy to hop between everyone and entering co-op multiplayer would negate this entirely.

Another minor issue I had with the combat system was the lack of variation between characters. While everyone initially uses different weapons, this stops being the case as the game progresses. When all three characters have the same weapons with small visual changes to moves, it makes everyone feel less distinct. It’s likely a concession to co-op, as it keeps everyone similarly balanced. For solo players, it’s easy to end up sticking to a single character, negating the switch mechanic entirely.

Trinity Trigger Combat

Elsewhere in Trinity Trigger, the environments are a treat, as each region of the world has its own distinct biome. In some cases, a little too distinct, such as when you casually wander from a snowy tundra to a scorching desert in a single screen. The game handwaves this away by blaming the Arma magically altering the world with god powers. However, it works because it helps differentiate the different regions. Plus one of those regions is a volcano split symmetrically between a red fire and a blue fire side, and it’s gorgeous. If that’s what god powers do to the world, I can’t complain.

Each Arma also contains a unique dungeon. While dungeon crawling is standard fare, each dungeon offers its own gimmick. The Bowsong contains mushrooms that have different effects when you hit them. The Lance is slippery from ice. The Duality is two mirrored dungeons stacked next to each other. It adds more variety where the game could have easily become repetitive.

Trinity Trigger Dungeon

Trinity Trigger does this a lot. When you break it down, it follows a lot of repetitive formulas, yet not once does that feel tedious. It could have become boring at any point, and it never did. I attribute this to two things. First of all, none of the areas are particularly huge, so nothing really outstays its welcome. Secondly, the game is just so darn charming.

As stated, the game’s story is a familiar one. It’s about a young man living in Standard RPG Starting Town discovering he’s the chosen one and going on a grand adventure. However, I was invested because the writing and voice acting in the English localization is so likeable. Characters joke around with each other, the Triggers are adorable and what’s more, it all feels sincere. It’s aware that it’s simple. It’s aware that it’s familiar, and it leans into both of these things to keep you on board.

Trinity Trigger Conversation

The general vibe I got from Trinity Trigger was coziness. It’s warm, welcoming, and familiar. The visuals are designed to look like they’re hand sketched, giving it a rustic feel. The music is catchy and evocative. Its gameplay is simple yet engaging. It just feels good to play it as it envelopes you in a nostalgic vibe.

Trinity Trigger does nothing new. It doesn’t advance the genre forward and it doesn’t offer many surprises to veterans of the genre. However, as I said at the start of this review, it’s hard not to love a humble comfort RPG. Especially when it’s as charming as this one.

Trinity Trigger releases in North America on April 25, 2023 for PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and PC. The console versions release in Europe on May 16, 2023.

8
Trinity Trigger

Step into the world of Trinity Trigger, an all-new action role-playing game combining the look and feel of iconic RPGs of the ‘90s with a modern emphasis on fast-paced, customizable combat. As Cyan, a young man burdened with the mantle of Warrior of Chaos and an inevitable clash with the Warrior of Order as the gods’ proxy, players will set out on a grand adventure to defy fate and save Trinitia. PS5 version reviewed.

Trinity Trigger sets out to evoke nostalgia a simpler time in RPGs, and succeeds with charm and solid gameplay.

Food for Thought
  • Co-op does take 2-3 hours to unlock, so be wary if you wish to jump in immediately with friends
  • Every area has a chest counter, which is useful but also frustrating every time you're missing a single chest
  • Some of the animated scenes early on are stunning and it's a shame there's so few of them

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Author
Leigh Price
Leigh is a staff writer and content creator from the UK. He has been playing games since falling in love with Tomb Raider on the PS1, and now plays a bit of everything, from AAA blockbusters to indie weirdness. He has also written for Game Rant and Geeky Brummie. He can also be found making YouTube video essays as Bob the Pet Ferret, discussing such topics as why Final Fantasy X-2’s story is better than people like to think.