Trinity Fusion Hands-On: A New Rogue-Lite Triumvirate?

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Indie developer Angry Mob Games gave us a hands-on preview of their new rogue-lite action-adventure Trinity Fusion, coming soon.

Rogue-lites are huge in the indie gaming scene lately, while multiverses are becoming the trope du jour at the box office—so what better than a new game that combines them with a unique twist? That’s the main conceit of Trinity Fusion, where you control three alternate-universe iterations of one person, each with unique abilities and separate worlds to explore.

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Each run you’ll choose one of the alternate selves to control: Kera, Altara, and Naira, who loosely correspond to the conventional roles of melee, magic, and ranged. At least, in theory. In reality, each has two weapon slots and some unique traversal skills. Kera’s weapons are both melee, where Altara has a standard melee and an energy-based magic spell, and Naira has a melee and some manner of firearm. The latter two are also more nimble and can double-jump, while Kera settles for an energy whip/lasso.

Each of Trinity Fusion‘s secondary weapons require energy to use, which can be built up with melee attacks. However, which weapons you’re assigned is random, at least at the outset of the beta build’s scope, so you’ll need to be flexible and experiment with each heroine’s unique arsenal instead of getting too comfortable.

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I learned that the hard way on my first run. Kera spoke to my usual playing tendencies so I took her for a spin first—only to find that Trinity Fusion isn’t messing around. After I wasted all my energy on cool aerial moves, I was quickly sent back to the hub world in pieces. Watching the enemies, timing your strikes, and dodging attacks to achieve optimal positioning are all key strategies for traversing the sprawling levels.

On subsequent runs I began to see some familiar pieces of scenery, but each time Trinity Fusion felt like a fresh challenge, thanks to the repositioning maps and randomized loadouts. I found affinity for certain tools, like Altara’s paralyzing lightning spells or Naira’s shotgun. Each alternate self feels familiar enough when switching between them, yet individualized by their specific skillsets.

By the same token, there’s a stimulating variety between the avatars’ environments and the opposition they encounter. The reveal trailer immediately brought Metroid Dread to mind, and the beta made good on that association: the environments cover a familiar spectrum from a hauntingly clinical future to uncanny, unsettling natural spaces, while the menagerie of enemies evoked memories of exploring similar planets with Samus Aran (and left me wishing for her badass armour).

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Back in the hub world, Trinity Fusion has a small supporting cast of NPCs on-hand. The beta skipped over the context establishment phase and got right to the action, but these assistants helped fill in some blanks. Most notably, you can interact with the central vessel from which all three “counterselves” originate, Maya, and switch between the playable characters, previewing their equipment in the process.

It’s from Maya you’ll be able to purchase some of the most vital abilities, Psychic Augments, which can be equipped in a manner similar to Nier Automata to provide persistent power-ups, like regaining health by doing damage or, critically, reviving when you’re first knocked out each run. Earning the blue currency required to unlock these became my driving force for a while, until I’d earned that coveted revival and the health osmosis tricks.

Maya may have access to three of her alternate selves, but here in this timeline, it looks like Trinity Fusion is shaping up to be quite an addictive rogue-lite. I quickly overcame my discomfort at not being able to fully equip myself and embraced the spirit of making-do, scrounging for optimal weapon sets, and trying to do a little better each run.

You can step into a parallel self when Trinity Fusion arrives soon on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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