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Review – Trine (PC)

Frozenbyte | July 2, 2009

Trine is a game that takes several separate concepts and pushes them together into one game.  You have the core platform action game, where you jump around and battle monsters.  There’s some puzzle aspects where you need to open gates and trigger buttons.  There’s a bit of RPG element involved with the party of characters, story and level system.  Finally it’s all distilled and simplified to the point where it’s fairly simple to play making it just a little but of a casual game.  Often titles with such a complex mashup end up being an over ambitious mess but Trine manages to pull things together very well.

The plot revolves around three distinct characters that you must swap between throughout the game to progress along.  The initial levels play each character individually before the meet as a clever tutorial for how each one works.  There is the Knight, who is strong and best suited for combat.  He also has the ability to toss heavy objects and is equipped with a shield needed to deflect objects.  There is the Thief, who uses her bow for ranged attacks and is equipped with a grapple hook used to climb past certain obstacles.  Finally there is the Wizard, who can conjure objects on an as needed basis, useful for climbing past tall objects or crushing enemies.  Each class has a distinct use, the Knight works best for basic combat but can’t easily pass most puzzles.  The Wizard is great for puzzles but is terrible at combat, the Thief lands in between, though she’s not great for either task.

  This makes it essential that everyone is kept alive.  It’s possible, for example, for your Wizard to die while the other two carry on.  This may mean you’ll have to find new methods of circumventing certain obstacles.  Where the Wizard could easily conjure a block to hit a switch, not having him may require navigating a more difficult path in order to manually trigger the switch.  As an example.  Fortunately, the checkpoints will revive fallen comrades so you will rarely be completely without them.

Unfortunately there isn’t always an easy way to solve a puzzle without particular party members.  Chances are it will end up being easier to just kill the remaining characters off and retry from the previous checkpoint.  Speaking of the puzzles, they are don’t tend to be very complex.  Most of them involve dropping blocks on buttons or stacking blocks to climb over a wall.  It’s not a terrible downside but don’t go in expecting something super complex or Earth shattering.

The presentation and overall feel tends to make up for it.  The enemies are fairly repetitious but the environments are very well made and varying.  There is also a very well done voice track for the characters and the narration between stages.  Also, despite some of the repetitiveness of the enemies, they tend to come in bursts that last just long enough that you don’t quite get tired of battling them while not being TOO easily defeated.

In short, Trine is a very well done game.  It’s got a lot of strong points in style, presentation, and story.  The game play itself is well done though it could use more monsters to fight besides the endless skeletons.  Still, the few flaws aren’t enough to keep this game from coming recommended.

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