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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Platform / Puzzle

 

Publisher

Nobilis

 

Developer

Forzenbyte

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q3 2009

 

 

- Looks and sounds great

- Fun puzzles to solve

- Can experiment plenty with the characters' abilities

 

 

- Coop mode isn't the most intuitive thing to set up

 

 

Reviews: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (DS)

Reviews: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (GC)

 

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Trine

Score: 8 / 10

 

trine-1.jpg (164960 bytes) trine-2.jpg (196000 bytes) trine-3.jpg (143740 bytes)

 

It used to be mildly surprising when a game successfully melded multiple genres into a single experience, but nowadays it’s becoming increasingly common (mercifully).  Trine is another such example of how fun it can be to have a bunch of play styles mixed under the same roof.  Following in the footsteps of games like Lost Vikings, Trine follows the tale of three adventurers whose souls have been fused by a magical object, and must now figure out how to get out of their predicament.  Each character has his or her own unique style of play, while the game unfolds in a delightful, fairy tale-like fashions.

 

The game starts with the first off with a kingdom that has found itself in a power vacuum after the king has died.  At first, a number of contenders to the thrown waged war against one another in hopes of becoming the next sovereign, but while this was going on an unknown evil was lurking in the shadows, eventually unleashing an army of the undead on the lands, and killing just about everybody in the process.  This leaves our three adventurers, all in the local wizards’ academy, with quite the problem.  Not only are their souls fused, but there’s scores of undead lurking about ready to do them in.  This all may sound straightforward, and light-hearted enough, and that’s exactly what it is.  What makes this all work is how charming the whole experience feels.  At the introduction of every level, there is a narrator that reads what our adventures are up to and where they’re going, and during the levels the characters talk to one another from time to time.  The whole thing feels like one is experiencing a fairy tale.

 

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As I was mentioning earlier, one of the things that makes this game work so well is the variety in which the three characters are played.  First we have the thief, who is a lithe, agile woman capable of leaping great distances, can swing around with her grappling hook, and fires arrows at far away enemies.  Next there is a wizard who specialized in moving the objects around him, and can create even more

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objects out of thin are, constructing means for the adventurers to navigate the levels.  Lastly we’ve got a knight, who is the muscle of the trio, bashing in the skulls of the enemy when called upon.  The way in which their skills play off of each other makes for some fun strategizing when faced with the numerous obstacles placed before them in each level.

 

Ultimately, that is the crux of the game as well: puzzle solving.  Players will regularly find themselves on one ledge, and have to navigate across some chasm, booby traps, monsters, and whatever other dangers lay before them in order to get to another ledge.  This takes some thinking, figuring out which character’s abilities will come in handy next, and at what moment should one use them.  Sometimes a player can take their time, swapping out between the three protagonists at a leisurely pace, while other times they need to be flown through in rapid succession, popping up to use an ability quick before switching to the next one.  There is an underlying, fast-paced action side to the game, as players platform their way through the levels, but there is also a lot of thinking involved, and this is what makes Trine special.  All the while, the game lets players experiment with their characters abilities to see how they will affect progress, much of the time with interesting results.

 

Helping to pull the whole experience together is Trine’s visuals and music.  The two work together to make a wonderful fantasy setting that feels like something straight out of a fairy tale.  The use of color helps bring the game’s settings to life, unlike a number of other games where we’re inundated with grey, lifeless dungeons.  Here we have crimson fires lighting our way, all sorts of colourful magic swirling around, gigantic treasure rooms, lush green foliage.  It just looks great.  All the while, the music is flowing in the background with a sensibility somewhere between Fantasia and Harry Potter.  The various tunes feel like a perfect fit for the adventures going on on-screen.

 

One minor quibble that I had with the game is that it was difficult to find the coop mode in the game.  It wasn't until someone else pointed it out to me that I even knew it existed, and even then you need to fiddle around in the nether reaches of the options menu just to get it set up.  The whole process was extremely unintuitive.

 

Trine is definitely worth spending some time with.  It doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but what it does it does well.  It looks great, sounds great, and it’s a ton of fun navigating the levels.  It’s certainly a game to consider if you like platforming with a bit of puzzle solving mixed in.

 

Mr. Nash

November 8, 2009

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