May 1st, 2011 | By Stephen Johnson
Following last month’s release of the Humble Frozenbyte bundle, I thought it’d be a good idea to revisit the developers works and make sure you don’t just feel good about your money going to charity, but you feel even better about buying some indie greats. First up; Trine.
Trine is a side-scrolling action platformer with some added rpg and puzzle elements thrown in the cooking pot. You play as three unlikely protagonists who were silly enough to hang around during an undead invasion. They all touched a magical item called the Trine that binded their souls together and thus must find a way to free themselves and save the kingdom from the army of the dead.
The characters are unique in skills and have personalities you wouldn’t normally associate with heroes. The hungry knight has a selection of melee weapons and a new-found hobby for kicking skeletons in the face, the thief wields a bow, grappling hook and is seriously regretting trying to steal treasure that binds you to a soldier of the kingdom, and the wizard can’t cast a fireball but should really consider a career as a builder.
Just because this is a side-scroller doesn’t mean the developer’s skimped on setting. The visuals have been pulled from a fairytale book and polished to an extent that you wouldn’t normally expect from an indie developer. No matter how many undead are thrown at you, Trine’s world is always a nice place to be.
The limited story doesn’t put you off either. Frozenbyte have opted for a simple storyline that is both accessible enough for casual play but engages just as well to a hardcore audience. Combined with the superb voice acting of the characters and the narrator, the developer has created an atmosphere that’s difficult not to lose yourself in.
To traverse through Trine’s 15 levels, you’ll need to manoeuvre it’s physics-based puzzles by switching between your protagonists. You aren’t limited to solving a puzzle one-way, making for some creativity. You could cross a spike-filled gap by using the thief’s grappling hook or you could use the wizard’s architectural expertise to make a bridge. You’ll find energy and experience vials along the way, which combined with killing monsters will level your characters up, enabling them to strengthen their abilities. Further unlockable skills and equipment can also be found, making your adventure a well-rewarded one.
Alternatively you can plug in some controllers and give the multiplayer a try. The game increases in difficulty level this way as you have to make sure all players reach the end of the level. This is much easier said than done due to having the added danger of your friends plotting behind your back. Once everyone gets passed the killing each other phase though, you’ll find it adds a fun challenge to an otherwise fairly easy campaign. Multiplayer is limited to local play unfortunately and is a little confusing to find due to being hidden away in the options rather than a menu selection that most people would be accustomed to.
The only other nitpick I can add other than the multiplayer is the enemy spawners. They most frequently generate extra enemies both in front and behind your character, which can overwhelm you and almost guarantee some hits being taken. It seems like it was added to increase difficulty but only leads to frustration. There’s nothing worse than having to run back to the last checkpoint to resurrect your team because of a particularly mean ambush that’s left you with only your wizard left alive.
Trine’s levels should take around 5 hours for your first play-through, making completion a little short. However, there is still replay value due to secrets items, achievements and most importantly it’s multiplayer. If your one of the people to snatch up the bundle offer, you’ll be happy to know you have an enchanting journey, chaotically exciting multiplayer and a sequel to look forward to that’s due for release later this year. Those who missed their chance, you should definitely give Trine another look.