Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Indie Video Game Review: Trine (by Frozenbyte)

(Sorry about lack of posting: still figuring out what exactly to write on here)

The other day, I happened upon the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle (located here). While excited to have a chance to donate some money and get some free indie games, the first two games I tried in the bundle were not terribly exciting and slightly buggy. Then, I hit the mother-lode: TRINE.

Trine is a modern platformer with realistic physics and RPG like play. You can play as one of three characters (the Knight, the Thief, or the Wizard) which each have special abilities, and can be switched out with another at any time. Take for example, a large gap. One could use the Wizard to create a platform and then switch immediately to the Thief (who has a longer jumping distance) and cross.
The game play is much like other platformers: the goal is to reach the end of the level by avoiding and overcoming physical obstacles. How you reach the end of the level is determined by how you use the characters. At any given obstacle in the game, two of the three playable characters, if not all of them, have their own unique way of surpassing it. The Knight can move heavy objects to build a ramp, the Thief could jump or use her grappling hook, or the wizard could summon blocks, ramps, or platforms. At other points, like the example in paragraph 2, one must use a combination of characters to clear an obstacle. This makes for a game system that is fun while being challenging and requiring critical thinking skills.
The story it tells is also very entertaining. The voices fit the characters perfectly, and the narration weaves a picture-perfect fable of old. While the story does not take center stage, it certainly adds to the gaming experience.
The graphics, for an indie game, are off the charts, while still being in reach of lesser graphics cards. I am able to play it on both my gaming and non-gaming computers, and I have the sneaking suspicion it might run on a netbook (don't take my word yet; I haven't tried). The scenery is beautiful without being distracting, and makes the game all that more enjoyable.
See? Isn't it beautiful?
All in all, I give this game a 9.5 out of 10, with the only detracting feature being that it can be played through in just over 4 hours (which is understandable due to indie budgets, but still). It's exciting and challenging gameplay, coupled with good dialog and amazing graphics, makes it a keeper.

(Thanks to all who are reading this fledgling blog. It's a lot harder than I had thought to make constant updates. I promise I will try better.)

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