Trine – PC
Release Date (NA): July 3, 2009
Publisher: Southpeak Interactive (North America)
Nerd Rating: 7
Reviewed by Flagostomos
A friend of mine told me that I absolutely had to play this game. I asked him what was so special about it, and he said that the physics made for interesting game play. So I forked over the 20 bucks, and decided to give it a shot.
After the first level where you get to briefly play each of the characters, I was instantly intrigued. The physics at first make for interesting gameplay, but they soon fall short as we will see. Also, the story seemed pretty good, and the graphics weren’t too shabby either. Speaking of which, there may be minor spoilers, so consider that your spoiler alert.
I’m not one to gripe over minor things so I decided to push through. So there’s this artifact, the Trine that our resident wizard is able to fill us in on. This object is able to bind the souls of, you guessed it, three people. So after some background on the wizard, the knight, and the thief, they all stumble upon the Trine. Binding the three together, the story finally unfolds. Undead have over run the kingdom, there is constant chaos, and the protective spell around the shrine vanished. The wizard recalls that there are three artifacts that can be used to undo the spell. So they set off to get themselves back to normal.
I don’t really remember where in the story things started to unfold. I can recall where they came across some major plot items, but I don’t know how they kept finding out where to go next. Then all of a sudden I was at the end of the game, with some weird dead thing that got lava to flow up. Then we’re stuck in the classic, get-to-the-top-before-it’s-too-late. There weren’t any bosses either. I was really scratching my head over how the game unfolded. If this last paragraph made no sense, that’s exactly how the game makes you feel about the plot of the game.
You know how in Star Wars, you sort of get the feeling that everything took place the way it did for a reason? Kind of an up and down, let both evil and good rule over the galaxy. Well, Trine does the same thing. Only in a worse way. There’s these prophecies and other things that point to the kingdom being overrun by undead, three heroes being raised to stop it, and then everything goes back to good and dandy. So, let me ask, what’s the point in the story? Of course they were going to succeed.
Along the way, they are bombarded by undead, spiders, bats and various traps. I have mixed feelings about the game play in Trine. The combat system is very simple. Usually you’ll be using the Knight to fight off all of the enemies. The thief’s arrows are just a bit too slow, and the wizard has virtually no offensive capabilities. He can make squares that you can use to squash things, but it takes too long to conjure the box, and then lift it in the air to drop on them. The thief eventually does get upgraded to the point where she can be used in general combat, but the wizard remains virtually useless throughout most of the game.
And not just in combat either. You’ll find yourself using the thief’s grappling hook to get on top of things, rather than conjuring boxes. Once you get the plank, he starts getting a little more use, but still, I always found myself going back to the thief with her grappling hook. Time and again I just switched to the wizard for him to take the hits from a fall into a pit or whatever. Then you get the floating platform, but it’s too late in the game and too unstable. Thief, I love your grappling hook.
However, let’s go back to the Knight. The undead take a few too many hits to kill… I think. I was only able to get my blade skill up to the second level, but I believe all that does is increase the chance of critical hits. It’s not until you get the hammer that combat finally turns in your favor. The shield is useless unless you really focus on where the cursor is. The few times I tried to use it in combat, I always found I was facing the wrong direction.
The grappling hook is by far the widest used tool. You can get to pretty much wherever you want to go with it. Even if it’s obvious the game wants you to use the wizard and his conjuring skills, just start swinging and you’ll be fine. However, the advanced physics didn’t really show in the grappling hook… Pac in Time on the SNES was just as advanced.
Where the physics were supposed to shine was in the way objects would be lifted in the air and twirled… Not the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. Nothing much fancier than Crayon Physics on iOs.
However, the game does provide an interesting experience overall. The story is nothing too fancy, the gameplay isn’t very flashy either. But the game does provide some unique play experiences. I definitely enjoyed playing Trine, but would I recommend it very highly? No.
And let me tell you, the ending… could have been thought out better.
I’d say give this a try the next time it goes on Steam sale. Other than that, just give it a pass.
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