Trinity Fusion Early Access Review

The Multiverse has been tampered with, again!

By Paul Hunter

It's no secret that I love a good rogue-lite or Metroidvania game. Heck, already this year I've reviewed Metroid Prime Remastered and Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania. And when a game fuses these two genres together—even better.

Still, with the glut of rogue-lites out these days I'm a bit weary to play new ones since few can match the incredible quality of games like the masterful Dead Cells and Hades. But every now and again a new rogue-lite catches my eye and that certainly happened recently with the promising footage I'd seen from Trinity Fusion by Angry Mob Games. This rogue-lite action platform recently went into Steam Early Acces, so I thought why not and took the plunge.

Twenty hours of game time later and I'm happy to report that Trinity Fusion nails the fundamentals of what makes rogue-lites and Metroidvanias so great. There are certain aspects that still need tweaking to make it an unqualified must-play rogue-like, but I still had a blast and can't wait to see how the experience evolves over time. Let's get right into it—here are three things I liked about the game..and one I didn't.

Liked: It's Got a Story!

OK, having a story is fairly standard these days for rogue-lites but I thought Trinity Fusion does a good job at making players invested in its universe. As revealed in the opening cutscene, the multiverse is facing imminent collapse with only four worlds remaining: one that's essentially used to collect resources, another filled with factories and a third full of high-tech science. A fourth world called Prime maintains the world balances but is now in meltdown mode.

With Prime's control slipping the universes are beginning to meld and that spells disaster for all living creatures. Thankfully, there's still hope as Maya, a cross-dimensional traveller, can psychically link to her three parallel selves. Working together, her alter egos must fuse the realities back together before the timelines collapse into one another.

While the multiverse is not the most novel theme, Trinity Fusion does a good job fleshing out its world with a nice opening scene followed by an evolving story as you complete runs. Similar to Hades, after every run or two the NPCs back at your home base (the Citadel) will have new things to say that shed further light into who Maya is, and the calamities this doomed world faces. I thought the voice acting itself was decent enough—it's far from the best I've ever heard but it's not bad either, it's middle of the road and that's fine. The actual dialogue is intriguing and tells a good story though, and was one of many elements that kept me saying to myself 'OK, one more run'.

Liked: Slick Gameplay

Diving into the combat itself, it's snappy and responsive just as I'd hoped for. Running at a smooth 60fps, the simple-yet-effective controls involve a mix of light and strong attacks, sliding with invincible frames, air dashing and mantling. There's a nice range of weapons, too, including hammers, katanas, claws, guns, bows, scythes, plasma blades and many others.

Trinity Fusion's best gameplay twist is you don't just play as one version of Maya: there are three versions to control, each with their own name, appearance, gameplay mechanics and specialized weapons. Altara uses a range of energy weapons, Kera is a master swordfighter and Naira prefers badass guns. Initially, you'll play as just Altara, but if you can beat the first two biomes plus a boss fight, you'll unlock her parallel selves and then can start new runs using them. There are even specific machines you can find in runs to merge versions of Maya together to gain greater power.

Enemies are very specific to the biomes they inhabit with the Underworld filled with organic monstrosities like floating eyeballs, lunging squids and armoured beetles. Meanwhile, the Overworld contains mechanized menaces like robot minotaurs, claw-clad assassins and metallic wasps, and the futuristic Hyperworld has alien-like creatures with high-tech weaponry.

Combatting these various enemies is satisfying and fair since most of them telegraph their attacks. It's your job to recognize these tells and react accordingly—usually through a mix of dashing and countering with punishing strikes. As long as you don't get too hasty or greedy it's usually pretty straightforward taking down enemies, although sometimes barriers will spring up to trap you in tight battle zones and that's when you'll need to really time your dashes and offense well.

I also enjoyed the Weapon Power level system that rises one point every time you kill a certain number of enemies. The power level influences the level of weapons you'll find after defeating enemies or opening the many chests scattered around the procedurally-generated Metroidvania maps. At higher levels, the weapons will improve their damage output, speed or range and can have better perks, like inflicting bonus damage against certain enemy types.

Beyond the common goons you'll beat down in each level, there are a number of giant and well-animated bosses to contend with. The three-eyed Lens Guardian is the first boss you'll face and unleashes a barrage of deadly lasers to time dash through, which can get quite tricky. You'll also face a massive tank machine armed with missiles and impenetrable energy fields, plus the supreme leader Ewer Eminence which sounds straight out of Star Wars.

When it comes to rogue-lites, gameplay is make-or-break and the good news for Trinity Fusion is this is where it excels the most. Since the game is still in early access I'm hoping that the enemy variety improves over time, and the combat goes a little deeper (e.g. by adding combos), but it's already off to a great start.

Liked: The Subweapons and Power-ups

In addition to your primary weapon, you'll also start each run with a subweapon that comes in extremely handy in battles. Sub-powers are randomized, so on one run you might get a flame pillar that incinerates foes and causes a burning effect over time, and on the next run you'll get a handy ice blast that temporarily freezes enemies. There are plenty of chests to find in each world that may have additional subweapons you can acquire.

To encourage you to use your entire offensive arsenal, your sub-powers require energy which you build up by striking enemies with your main weapon. Combat is a rhythmic balance between forward, air and charge strikes to gather energy and your powerful subweapons that consumes said energy. It's an efficient system with an intrinsic risk-reward that feels effective and well thought out.

Venturing into your stat screen you'll see that there's a plethora of slots you can fill with items to become even more powerful. You've got three ability slots and five mod slots that can give you anything from a 20% attack power increase while in the air to increasing the effectiveness of healing items. You also get an ultra-powerful PowerUp slot that gives you abilities on a timer, like Arm Overdrive that temporarily increases the damage of all your weapons.

After hours of experimentation, I found that there are some weapons, subweapons and item perks that can be a tad overpowered, while others are far less useful. I suppose this range of usefulness exists in most rogue-lites, but I'm still hoping over time the developers tweak and hone the effectiveness of each item to make them all viable in battle.

Trinity Fusion features a meta-progression system in the form of collectible blue orbs that carry over between runs. You use these orbs in the Psychic Augment machine located in the Citadel and they can give you extra health, better damage resistance at low health, and other beneficial aids. Each upgrade takes up a certain number of augment slots, and you can increase your available slots by collecting yellow orbs (which also carry over across runs). It's a nice system and certainly helpful, although currently the range of upgrades is limited so again, I hope the developers expand your options as the game moves towards its full release.

Didn't Like: Biomes Lack Identity

There's a lot I can praise Trinity Fusion for like its compelling story and gameplay, but unfortunately, visually I think the biomes still need some work. To reflect the dark story, biomes are quite bleak and have a dark mist backdrop that's certainly effective at reflecting the overall game tone. But seeing the same dull backgrounds can cause visual fatigue over time and makes biomes feel all too similar.

Your home base of the Citadel thankfully has a futuristic blue hue to it for some much-needed colour variety. Even here though I found myself getting tired over time since the layout is so boring. The Citadel hub space consists of three levels that all circle around a central core and you'll run circles around each ring talking to characters and upgrading your hero. It's neat the first few times but continuously looping around the rings, run after run, starts to feel like a chore. It would have been better to condense everything into one ring to avoid all that annoying and unnecessary floor hopping.

The Verdict

After spending a couple dozen hours with Trinity Fusion I enjoy what it's offering. The combat is punchy, the weapon variety is great, the power level system is novel and the story while not groundbreaking is still pretty solid. With three different protagonists to play as and master, there's added replay value as well. I hope graphically we get more diversity in future updates since right now the levels feel a little too bleak. I reviewed the game on the Steam Deck and performance was excellent—you can tell effort was made to optimize it for the system. For an early access game, it's already shaping up nicely and I'd consider it a safe bet for rogue-lite fans.

Final Score: 7/10 - Good

Trinity Fusion details

Platform: PC
Developer: Angry Mob Games
Publisher: Angry Mob Games
Genre: Rogue-lite, Action Platformer
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: TBD

A key was provided by the publisher.