Review by Fjoeri

Reviewed: 09/24/09

Trine is a beautiful 2D puzzle adventure game

Once upon a time, there was a magical land…
As a kid, most people dreamt about magical worlds with elves, magicians, witches, knights and stuff like that. In such worlds our laws of physics and logics don’t apply, obviously. Imagine yourself such a world again, and it will come close to what Trine has to offer.

In Trine, you get to play as three characters. Together, they end up in an old academy where a mystical object, the Trine, connects their souls. The threesome has no other option than to work together in order to nullify the effect of the object. Easier said than done though, because the land they’re in is a kingdom where evil rules. And this evil must be vanquished at all cost.

The lady from the threesome is Zoya the thief. She’s extremely agile and has a grappling hook to reach nearly impossible places. With her bow, she can take out enemies from afar. The second character is Amadeus the magician. Instead of studying real hard to get the hang of the fireball spell that all magicians ought to know, Amadeaus spend too much time trying to impress the ladies. Though Amadeaus has not completely failed as a magician, because he can use his powers to summon and create items like boxes and planks, and move them with the pure will of his mind. Last but not least, there is Pontius. Pontius is the kind of guy who bashes first and asks later. He’s strong, but slow and is the only character that can actually defend himself from incoming projectiles and attacks.

A 2D adventure with a gorgeous look…
Trine is an action platform game that’s played in a 2D perspective. This means that all the action is monitored from the side. Though the game itself is rather linear, it’s not all that simple. Every two minutes, there are puzzles to be solved and some of those actually require some thinking. But it’s mostly the way the puzzles are put together, that makes the concept so special. This is because the entire game and it’s puzzles are based around the used physics. Objects really react how you’d presume they’d do. An example will clear things up. Imagine a wall with spikes on it. Well, just pin a wooden box onto it and it will stick. Goodbye painful spikes and hello handy platform to reach a ledge.

Although one single tap from the upper shoulder button is enough to switch character, you won’t be switching much. Most puzzles are designed to lure out the skills of a certain character, but all in all, all characters have their own way to overcome any kind of puzzle. The thief can mostly swing from place to place, avoiding hazardous environments, while the wizard can just conjure platforms to walk upon. The strong and heavy knight on his side, can just pick up items and toss them on whatever lays before him to create some safe spots to jump upon. Oh, and in case you miss a jump and die, don’t fret. There are plenty of crystal balls in the levels that act as checkpoints. At each checkpoint, a deceased character is resurrected and all lost health and mana will be restored by half.

The action in Trine is split in different levels, which all act as a different environments. Aside from the puzzles that require solving, each level holds two treasures to find which can be equipped to enhance our heroes' powers and skills, as well as experience bottles which allows them to level up and become even stronger. The only other way to get those nifty experience potions, is to slay foes.

Sharing the fairytale with up to two friends…
Trine offers the ability to play the game together with up to two friends. The only thing to do, is hook up another controller and you’re off. Unfortunately, this option is currently only available offline. This means that you’re all stuck staring at the same screen. This does not make the game any less fun because while one of you is solving the puzzle at hand, someone else can spend some time bashing enemies on the head. Sadly, the cooperative mode comes with some frustration. Since all the action is taking place on one screen, it may sometimes happens that one character has advanced too far, so that a needed object for the magician or thief has placed itself out of the view. So, that can be annoying, but it can be overcome by just sticking together.

Trine is an all-around beautiful fairytale…
Trine is a graphical stunning game. It conjures a world full of bright colors, beautiful light effects, flowers, creepy dungeons and many magical creatures just as in a child’s wildest imagination. This sweetness is presented by a convincing narrator, who guides you through the story in between the levels. It all makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Yes, I’m a softy. Whoever has doubts about Trine can shed them, because Trine is simply a beautiful and fantastic adventure filled with fun puzzles.

Despite the goodness, Trine is not completely flawless. Checkpoints are frequently places to far from one another, so that backtracking in order to heal, restore magic or resurrect can become frustrating. And although the puzzles are fun, most experienced gamers won’t find any challenge in Trine’s. This does not make the game any less, fun, just less challenging.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Trine (EU, 09/17/09)

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