Trine Review

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Trine Publisher: Frozenbyte
Developer: Frozenbyte


Platforms: PlayStation 3 and PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: 2.0 GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, Radeon X800 or GeForce 6800 or better video card, 600 MB HD space, Windows XP or more recent operating system

The story may be generic, but Trine certainly isn't. Despite sending players into a series of dungeons with a wizard, knight and thief, bound by an ancient artifact to end a soulless evil, Trine is a unique downloadable adventure.

Rating:
Kyle Ackerman


Not long ago, Trine would have been the sort of game backed by a top publisher, with hordes of fans waiting months in eager anticipation of the game's release. It's a testament to the quality of downloadable games that a game as obsessively entertaining and gorgeous as Trine can fly as low under the radar as it has. Whether you've obsessing over the release of Trine or whether you've barely heard mention of the title, this is a game worth your time and money to experience.

Three powerful characters all touched an artifact, and have become bound to the Trine. Now, only one of them can manifest at a time, and all will have to work together to save their collective kingdom from evil. One is a knight, able to hurl heavy objects, block with his shield, and battle the nastiest of undead fiends. Another is a thief, able to fire her bow with pinpoint accuracy and use a grappling hook to surpass otherwise impassible obstacles. The third is a wizard, able to manifest and levitate objects that can be used to manipulate the physical world.

Together, the three characters occupy a side-scrolling platformer whose action is more about using physics to solve puzzles than it is about twitch coordination or monster-bashing. Trine still requires plenty of coordination to execute timed series of jumps, snipe at distant enemies and smash bosses with the Stormhammer. Each of the characters advances role-playing-game style. The (somewhat) optional collectibles in Trine are mostly experience, and these let the wizard create more objects, the thief fire more arrows, and the knight do more damage. The more I searched, the easier it became to solve puzzles in the game. Also, chests scattered around the game hide items that make it easier for the characters to progress through the game.

The combat was incredibly straightforward, especially for anyone who has ever spent time with traditional platformers. Frankly, if I used the knight, it was only to kill enemies and smash things. Typically, I used the thief for jumping around and shooting distant enemies, while I used the wizard to solve as many puzzles as possible. Most puzzles can be solved with an assortment of objects that the wizard can conjure. As he rises in level (or finds special objects), he can manifest tons of objects like boxes and planks that can be used to hold down switches, weight balances or bridge gaps.

Because most of the puzzles involve manipulating objects and coping with physics-based puzzles, there are usually several solutions to a given problem. While this undermines the difficulty of the game (because multiple approaches still work), it never undermines the fun. It's great to switch to the wizard and then, with simple mouse gestures, manifest objects to solve puzzles out of thin air. After earning enough experience to unlock a wide assortment of objects, I was easily able to deal with anything Trine had to throw at me – but I enjoyed every minute of it. The only exception was the final level, which required more than a little timing and jumping skill to complete.

Furthermore, the game is gorgeous. Brilliantly colorful, the various levels range from organic forests to dank dungeons and clockwork mechanisms. Each region uses different palates, and while some are vivid and filled with shimmering light, others use shadows to create mystery and complicate puzzle elements. The spectacular art is matched by the voice work and amazing soundtrack. For a game with a story so generic I found it hard to focus on, there are clever voice-overs introducing every level (while still embracing the generic fantasy setting with tongue firmly planted in cheek) and appropriate character banter as the three intertwined characters advance through each level.

Trine certainly isn't perfect. With so many objects and puzzles relying solely on objects interacting according to the rules of physics, something is bound to go wrong. Occasionally, enemies drop partly through surfaces, bounce off summoned objects or objects just spring away from each other like magnets of opposite polarity. Trine is certainly worth checking out for anyone with even the tiniest fantasy-loving- or platformer-bone in their bodies.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on September 19, 2009 2:38 PM.

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