Trine – The PS3 Attitude Review
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a very enjoyable game was made that featured a thief, a wizard and a knight. It was called Trine.
But is this a game where everyone lives happily ever after?
In this 2D platformer, the physics of the world are your friend. With the ability to switch characters at any point, manipulate and create objects at will, swing around in style, and smash your way through countless skeletons, there are numerous ways to play through this tale.
As the game begins, you are introduced to the story by the pleasant voice of the narrator. Right from the start it’s hard not to be drawn in by the way the story is told. Beautiful backgrounds, a soothing voice, and a mysterious setting will intrigue gamers within the first minute of the game.
In a clever way to seamlessly tell a story and let players learn the controls at the same time, you play as each of the three characters separately in a mini story-driven tutorial. The thief, equipped with a bow for shooting arrows, is able to use her grappling hook to latch onto wooden objects or surfaces. The wizard is able to create boxes and bridges and he can also manipulate certain objects and scenery with his magical powers. The knight is the powerhouse of the three and is able to slash through enemies with his sword and block with his shield.
All three characters will be used at some point in the game, but it’s also entirely possible to get through most situations using the thief primarily. Her ability to easily attack enemies with her arrows and the grappling hook allow for some simple solutions to seemingly hopeless predicaments. The wizards ability to create objects will be an invaluable tool however, and some unique puzzle solutions can be made. Of course, then you can use the knight to plow through any enemies as you traverse through your newly created walkway.
The controls in Trine work incredibly well. The L1 and R1 buttons are used to switch between characters. X is the universal jump button, and movement is controlled by using the left analog stick. Each character has a specific way to play, so here’s a breakdown of each of their abilities:
For the thief, using the right analog stick will allow for the player to aim her arrows in 360 degrees. The longer you hold the analog stick, the more powerful the shot will be, so if you want a good arc, you don’t want to make the shot too strong. L2, R2, or square can be used to grapple on wooden surfaces. You can swing left to right while hooked on, and you can also lower and raise yourself up if you so please. The triangle button can be used to switch between normal arrows and fire arrows.
The knight can aim his shield with the right analog stick to block from any angle. Repeatedly tapping the square or R2 button will allow for the knight to attack with his equipped weapon. To switch weapons, all you have to do is press triangle, just like for the thief. The knight also learns more abilities as the game progresses. By pressing the O button, the knight can lift up objects and throw them into enemies or walls. There is also a charge ability and that is done by pressing L2. If you want to launch skeletons across the screen, that would be the best way to do it.
With the wizard, using the right analog stick moves a circular cursor around and that represents your point of magic. By holding L2 or R2 and creating the shape of a square, that object will be made. The same concept applies when creating a bridge, which would be just a straight line. The last object for the wizard to make can be a pain to get right. Sometimes when trying to make the triangle shape, a box would come out. It didn’t happen too frequently, but when in a situation that calls for fast casting, it caused for many brief frustrations.
The controls are very easy to remember and you will find yourself switching between characters and utilizing their abilities without even thinking twice about it. It may take some time to get used to making boxes fast, or even swinging across platforms with ease, but the learning curve shouldn’t be longer than an hour.
Throughout Trine there are hidden treasures to collect that will give new abilities to anyone that equips the item, although some are specifically unique to a particular character. There is also an experience system in the game that allows the player to level up certain abilities if you have enough points. The game becomes increasingly more enjoyable after leveling up, so it’s definitely not worth forgetting about.
Trine doesn’t have to just be a single player experience. Sure it doesn’t have online play, and that is quite disappointing, but it does have local multiplayer for up to three players. In fact, the game is probably even more enjoyable when playing with friends or family. Levitating a box with a buddy standing on it so that person can go to the platform above is pretty fun. There are many laughs to be had when creating a bridge in mid-air, hoping for your partner to jump onto it, with just enough time to make it and the run across it, and then jump to the other side successfully. If you’re playing with two players, switching characters is similar to playing alone. Just press L1 or R1 and you will switch to the character that isn’t being used. If you’re in a situation where you need a thief, just have one person swing across as the thief first, and then have that person switch to a different character.
Having played through the whole game twice, once solo and the other time cooperatively, it’s easy to say that the experience changes dramatically. It’s mainly the fact that you have to actually worry about multiple characters getting through a situation that makes the easier solutions used when playing solo not possible anymore. It’s a very refreshing and delightful cooperative game to play, and it would have been great to see this game with an online component. The controls are also simple enough for non-gamers to enjoy, so this would be a great game for couples to play even if one of them isn’t necessarily a proficient gamer. Even when playing solo, after gaining more abilities, going back to play earlier levels can be different as well since you will have more tools to utilize.
Trine is one of the few PSN titles that has a platinum trophy (like WipEout HD and Spelunker). For the most part, the trophies are easy to obtain and it’s better to go after them after you already beat the game once or when you learned more abilities. The game becomes a blast to play once you can shoot multiple arrows at once with the thief, and when you can create tons of boxes and bridges with the wizard. It should be noted though that a trophy for creating 500 objects in a single level is just absurd and boring. It’s the only trophy that we felt shouldn’t have been in the game. It’s not fun at all.
The visuals in Trine are unique and extremely eye-pleasing. It’s a very colorful game that is rendered in 3D, despite being a 2D side-scrolling platformer. Even the way fire lights up a room is nice to look at, especially when it isn’t actually casting light everywhere. Trine could quite possibly be one of the best looking PSN titles released so far, and the art style definitely contributes to this.
The soundtrack to Trine is beautiful as well, and that is apparent even when sitting at the main menu. This was known ever since the first Trine trailer was revealed, so that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that has kept up with the game. It’s still worth mentioning though, and the music definitely matches with the scenery to create a very atmospheric setting, no matter which level you’re playing. The developer of Trine, Frozenbyte, have done a great job in creating a believable world with great music, sound effects, and voice acting.
Trine may have been delayed tons of times, and it took awhile for it to come to the U.S. even after it was released in Europe, but that still doesn’t make Trine any less of an awesome game. If you enjoy platforming games, then Trine is a must have. While it may seem expensive and it does lack modes to play beyond just the story, the game lasts around 6-8 hours in a first playthrough. From our experience, we didn’t want to stop playing Trine so our first playthrough was a 7 hour marathon through all 15 levels, and it was glorious. Although fighting skeletons over and over again can get old, it didn’t at all ruin the experience of the game. It would have been nice to have more of an enemy variety. The ending of the game is also a tad bit disappointing, but you’ll get over it.
If you haven’t bought Trine yet, what are you waiting for?! It’s worth supporting developers that clearly and carefully crafted a great game. It would be a shame to not see another title from Frozenbyte on the PSN, so don’t let that happen!