Physics seem to be the hot thing in downloadable games just now, and for good reason. Trials HD provided a wonderful poster child for its implementation and now developers Frozenbyte release their PC title, Trine, on the PlayStation Network.
Set within a lush fantasy world, Trine is a side scrolling action platformer incorporating physics-based puzzles. With the aid of a narrator and some wonderfully drawn slides, the player is introduced to the story and the three characters that will be at their disposal throughout the game. While the story is perfunctory at best, it acts as a way to frame our three protagonists and their quest to rid the lands of the darkness that has taken over.
Amadeus the wizard uses his magic to shift objects or to create boxes and panels, while Pontius the knight will cleave anything in two that dares cross his path, sporting a shield that comes in handy for deflecting attacks and projectiles. The final character, Zoya the Thief, is nimbly able to jump the highest but also sports a ranged attack in the form of a bow and arrow. She can also use a grappling hook which only attaches to wooden objects. Dotted throughout each level are green experience jars and for every 50 collected, abilities for each character can be upgraded, expanding their repertoire of moves. The player can then level up their characters with the skill tree, accessed by pressing the Select button.
The player will feel an odd mixture of being daunted and slightly underwhelmed by Trine as they find their feet, learning to use the right character for the right job. Thankfully any feelings of frustration soon diminish as they become au fait with each character, switching between each one by pressing the R1 button to carry out specific tasks and progress to the end of the level.
The physics of Trine affects everything the player does and the actions the characters make. An inaccessible crossing will require Amadeus to either move a block into a certain position so Zoya can jump / grapple across or, as masonry falls from the ceiling in an area, Pontius`s shield will provide the ability to traverse the area without harm. The puzzles are introduced in a gentle manner but become increasingly fiendish and will drive many to throw their controller down as their patience is tested. A solution will always be found eventually, even if it means spending a bit more time in a section than originally intended.
Trine certainly looks the part with lush vibrant locations, each varied and consistent in their theme. But if there is a fly in the ointment it’s the slight amount of levels on offer, numbering only 15 in total. While there`s the argument that there is still plenty to play for once the main quest is finished (as the player tries to reach previously inaccessible treasure chests and the like), this will only appeal to the more dedicated audience out there. Also the price point which Trine has been released at feels ever so slightly top heavy, which could ultimately put off any potential buyers who are used to a bit more bang for their buck.
It would be a shame if this was the case as Trine is an interesting title that provides some tricky yet fun puzzling while it lasts.