Ok, we know we’re late with this review and that (in the UK at least) the game came out a week or two ago – but this is a review we couldn’t help but write about. Trine is a game which comes so close to puzzling platforming perfection that we felt we had to tell everyone about it, even if there are few places where the developers seem to have sabotaged their own brilliance with an awful change in difficulty.
On the whole you see, Trine is one of the most accessible and easy to grasp games you’ll ever play. Like Pong! you don’t really need to be taught how to play it, you just pick it up and know what to do, aside from a few nuances. We’ve thus learned that it’s a fantastic game for co-op play with friends and family, even if they aren’t huge gamers – something we consider one of Trine’s greatest strengths.
Trine sure is pretty
The gameplay in Trine is really best described as a cross between Mario, Golden Axe and those little physics puzzles that populate the early stages of Half-Life 2. Or we could just say that it’s a physics-based platformer, whatever.
Set in the kind of colourful and fairy-filled fantasy land from Walt Disney films, Trine casts players as a multitude of characters who’ve had their souls joined together magically after touching an enchanted gem – the eponymous Trine.
Each character is different in both personality and gameplay functions. The Thief, who instigated the whole mess by attempting to steal the Trine, is the most agile of Trine’s trio and can use her grappling hook to swing and scale most surfaces. She can also use her bow to unleash traps and pick off the undead enemies that the trio battle against in their quest to save the kingdom and break free of the Trine.
This seems like a good point for us to admit that we’re not giving you the full skinny on Trine’s story for the simple reason that it isn’t very important. Like those retro references Golden Axe and Mario, all you really need to focus on is moving from right to left across the screen and killing anything wot tries to kill you first. The story is simply filler narrated to you over a portion of the loading screen, proving utterly skippable and unessential in appreciating the full game.
The levels are very varied and diverse
The second character trapped in the Trine with the Thief is a failed, womanising Wizard with a penchant for telekinesis. The most useful but weak of the lot (especially in the early levels) the Wizard is essentially the Physics Gun of your arsenal and is mainly useful for moving the fully-physics simulated world according to your whim.
By drawing shapes on the screen with the mouse the Wizard can also summon a variety of different items to aid players, creating new platforms to jump from, weights to solve puzzles with and planks to crush enemies with. He’s a useful guy to have around.
Slightly less useful for puzzles is the third character – a Warrior who stumbles across the Thief as she tries to steal the Trine and who (in keeping with the gaming stereotype) compensates for a lack of special abilities with a big sword. The Warrior really has no special function in the early stages of the game, save for the ability to whack down skeletons as fast as they can rise.
Really though, skeletons aren’t the main obstacle in Trine – the main opponent are the various puzzles and platforms that litter the game and the increasingly complex means you’ll have to employ to bypass them.