Trinity Trigger - Switch Review
"Will induce nostalgia in fans of Secret of Mana."
With its English localisation released on 25 April 2023, Trinity Trigger welcomes you to the world of Trinitia, one beset by an ongoing divine war. You are a down-to-earth Scavenger named Cyan who, as with numerous JRPG protagonists, has murky origins. How will your everyday life be disrupted by meeting a Pokémon-like sidekick and a random stranger with a similar companion? What’s your role in the world’s long-standing conflict between the Gods of Order and the Gods of Chaos?
Trinity Trigger is inspired by the classic JRPGs of the 90s. More specifically, classic action RPGs (aka ARPGs), and even more specifically, Secret of Mana. While it isn’t a turn-based game, its real-time combat, simple charm, and straightforward adventure will appeal to fans of action role-playing games who enjoy the retro revival.
Trinity Trigger has a cute, simplistic attractiveness. It opens with a brief intro clip before you discover why you are Trinitia’s chosen one… well, one of the world’s chosen ones. Right away, you realise that Trinity Trigger is fully voiced in both Japanese and English (with Cyan’s English voice actor being the same dude who voiced Joker from Persona 5). You’ll also likely appreciate the anime cutscenes scattered throughout the journey. The voice acting and quality of the cutscenes hint that this is indeed a 2023 game.
I also loved the soundtrack. Composed by Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana, Trials of Mana), some of the songs had a retro 80s/90s vibe to me that complemented the gameplay. (As an aside, you start feeling your age when the era you were born in begins being called “retro!”) Another Mana veteran, artist and animator Yuki Nobuteru, built Trinity Trigger’s world.
Your party’s lovely creature companions are called Triggers. They are central to the game’s original battle system. Like in Pokémon, each Trigger is associated with an element. But rather than attacking enemies for you, they transform into the very weapons you use. To unlock their abilities to shapeshift into new weapons, you dig deep into the dungeons of the world’s Arma, the gods’ huge fallen weapons.
Along with a regular menu, the game has a Ring Command menu akin to Secret of Mana, providing a swift way to access weapons and items. You use the Weapon Wheel to swap between eight weapon types during battles. You’ll be doing that often, as certain equipment is more effective against certain enemies. And battle mechanics mean it’s best to switch (no pun intended!) between the trinity’s members, even if you’ve got a favourite.
Furthermore, the party’s assorted arms are used to navigate the Arma and other environments. Instead of grinding in these areas, a player expends Trigger Points to strengthen Trigger weapon skills. “Now I’m even stronger!” Once the trinity is complete, you unlock co-op and can play multiplayer with up to two friends. Finally, it’s another plus if the protagonist’s namesake is Cyan from Final Fantasy VI (definitely, one of the greatest JRPGs ever to grace my vision balls).
- Full voice acting in English and Japanese
- Anime cutscenes
- Cool, retro-inspired soundtrack
- Unique, non-derivative battle system with Triggers
As I wrote in my Harvestella Switch review, the pros and cons of anything are mostly down to personal preference and interpretation. So, I can only write about my impressions.
Visually, the character sprites and cell-shaded character models were appealing. But the lowish poly scenery could’ve been refined and defined more. Having just played Harvestella and Fire Emblem Engage, I would’ve liked to find a similar definition and attention to detail in Trinity Trigger’s backdrops. I know the developers were probably going for an old-school feel – PlayStation 2 vibes? However, to me the backgrounds made the game look more like a mobile port.
As Trinity Trigger is a love letter to classic 90s JRPGs, they could’ve opted for a pixel art/HD-2D aesthetic – like that of Octopath Traveler 2 or Triangle Strategy – adding the game to the pixel art revival. Don’t judge a game by its graphics and visual attractiveness? But I usually do with modern releases.
Your party consists of only three members, the trinity with Triggers (referenced in the title). This tiny selection could be a downside for those of us who love having a larger cast of playable characters to shuffle between, e.g., like in the Fire Emblem and Suikoden games. Furthermore, those two series are also turn-based JRPGs. Some gamers prefer faster-paced action RPGs with real-time combat, but turn-based ones will always be my favourite. The boss fights in Trinity Trigger got a bit button mashy for me – still fun, though.
I felt the story was pretty generic. You’re a chosen one fighting against gods to change the world’s fate and your own. Many titles have this basic theme playing out, which is possibly one reason the developers decided on it. They were aiming for a storyline that fans of the classics would be familiar with. Besides, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when gamers still love these plotlines.
- Lowish poly scenery needed refining
- Only three party members
- Button-mashy action RPG
- Generic “defy god/fate and save world” plot
Final Score: 6/10
Probably, I’m a bit biassed in my score, as I prefer turn-based JRPGs over action ones, but I realise this isn’t the case for everyone! Also, as much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t get past the background graphics. They would be fine if the game were released 20 years ago, or if it were a remaster. Despite this, Trinity Trigger will induce nostalgia in fans of Secret of Mana and similar titles. It’s also a great choice for gamers who relish modern reimaginings of 90s ARPGs, with contemporary additions (e.g., the co-op and voice acting).
Thank you for checking out our Trinity Trigger Switch review, thank you to Marvelous (via Decibel PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
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