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Review: Trine

At a Glance

This game is recommended!
This game is not just good fun, it also stays fairly true to Christian moral values, making it a great addition to anyone's library!

ESRB Rating: NR - Not Rated
My Rating: Ages 6 and up
Genre: Platform Puzzler
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2009
Review Published On: August 27th, 2016
Played on: Martha

Available from:

Humble Store, Steam

Save System:

Your progress is saved automatically at the end of a level. If you want, you can also manually save at any point during a level.

Should you need to pause the action, bring up your inventory by pressing ESC.

Summary of
Major Issues:

Magic takes center stage in this fantasy adventure, though there's nothing more serious than you'd find in a fairytale. Additionally, the heroes find themselves fighting hordes of undead skeletons throughout their adventure.

Screenshots

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Levitation tricks

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A Knight in his element

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Dueling archers



Game Overview

In a once-beautiful kingdom, the natural magic of the land has become twisted, creating soulless undead creatures. This army of the dead has ravaged the land, and most of the kingdom now lies abandoned. Protective magical seals have faded, allowing access to potentially dangerous artifacts.

Speaking of which, this game's story actually begins when a thief attempts to steal a powerful artifact. Upon laying her hands on the Trine, she became affixed to it, as if glued. Through a few more shenanigans, an inept wizard and a clumsy knight also ended up getting stuck to the Trine, and it bound their souls together. In order to free themselves from this awkward union, they would need to find the Trine's companion artifacts, which unfortunately happened to be in the possession of the undead army.

This is where you come in. In this physics-based platformer, you'll need to guide these three characters across the land, defeat the undead, find treasure, and simply survive long enough to get them unstuck. You can only control one character at a time. Normally when games have a party system like this, you'll need to switch between your heroes often to keep them all out of danger or move them to the next leg of the current stage. In Trine, things are a bit different. Since you can only control one of the characters at a time, only one exists in the game's world. This sort of makes the cast behave like different "modes" of a single player character.

There is also an inventory and leveling system, though these are fairly simple. Each character has skills that you can improve over the course of the game, but you need to be a little careful about spending the skill points you earn since there's a limited amount of them. As for leveling up, you'll need to collect glowing green jugs of experience that drop from specific enemies or are scattered around the environment.

All in all, this is a good, fun game. Unfortunately, there are some dull spots in its luster, though if you're willing to overlook those you should be able to enjoy this romp through a living storybook.

Points of Interest

Completely voiced, including a narrator
Between levels, a narrator reads some of the story while you view a map of your progress in a storybook. During the levels themselves, the narrator occasionally tells more of the story, with the rest of the cast reading their lines when needed. This makes the game feel like it's all taking place in a fairy tale, and it's very well executed.
Steam community features
Naturally, there are plenty of achievements for the player to earn, most of which are about collecting all of the hidden experience potions in a level. If you're interested in collecting them, there is also a series of Steam trading cards.
Each character's abilities are pretty balanced
While there are three characters and you have the option of which one to use, their strengths and weaknesses all end up balancing each other out. You'll need the Knight for his close-combat fighting abilities, the Thief for her agility and grappling hook, and the Wizard for his ability to create new platforms and block off dangerous areas. You can't just use one character all of the time.
One of the boss designs could use more polish
While most of the game is very polished and the various characters smoothly transition from one movement to the next, one of the recurring bosses does not fit this description. Its attack is too broadly telegraphed, making it look incredibly distorted. Worse, the animation can cause this boss to glitch through the player's character. Basically, it's something I'd expect to see in a rushed student project, not a finished game.
In game advertising
Currently, the game displays an advertisement for the newest game in the franchise. I'm not adverse to advertisements in games, but they placed the link to the Steam store right next to the actual quit button. It's almost like they're baiting someone into click the wrong button, and this just feels a little deceitful.
Physics-based platforming can be annoying
One of the biggest gameplay issues I had was that jumps are often just a little too short to reach their destination. While careful use of the wizard's boxes and platforms can solve some of these cases, it just becomes busywork after you've done it enough times. In some cases that won't even help, as the problem lies with the physics engine swinging the platforms around. The best solution I found was simply taking more breaks between levels to reduce gameplay fatigue.
Combat is extremely simple
Although the game's tooltips suggest that enemies should be dealt with in clever ways using fancy moves, the actual combat just boils down to hitting the bad guy until they fall down. There's no actual strategy involved or required, which is actually a disappointment thanks to the game setting it up to be something more.

Concerns and Issues

None of the heroes are pure
Normally, fairy tale heroes are utterly pure and without blemish. This group doesn't fit that mold, for better or worse. The Wizard is described as being more interested in women than in his own vocation, while the Knight is a blundering idiot. As for the Thief, her actions are pretty much self-explanatory.
Some scenes can be a bit scary
Several of the images in the opening cutscene are pretty detailed, which might be a bit much for younger children. It's not "horror film" scary by any means, but it might be inappropriate for children that aren't old enough to be in elementary school.
Magic plays a major role in the story
This is somewhat obvious, as one of the main characters is a Wizard and the plot was set in motion by a magical artifact. That said, the game only features fairy tale magic. Even at its darkest, it's not much of a concern.