What is a Trine? According to Frozentbyte — the Finnish developer of this beautifully crafted physics-based game — the Trine is an ancient relic of unknown origin and power. Of course, the Trine also is the motivating factor and narrative propellant for this side-scroller.
Trine begins when a thief named Zoya tries to steal the Trine from the unguarded Astral Academy. Only knowing the treasure to be of great value, Zoya is unaware of the power the Trine possesses. When Zoya reaches down and grabs the Trine from the chest she finds it in, her soul is absorbed into the artifact and her life as a thief is changed.
Luckily for Zoya, Amadeus the Wizard (an aging student at the Astral Academy) sees a horde of undead marching on the Astral Academy. Wanting to stay alive and knowing that the Trine needs protecting, he runs to the treasure room to save the day. His fate is sealed as soon as he grabs the Trine, as his soul is also trapped in the Trine with Zoya.
Pontius the Knight, sworn protector of the Trine, senses that something is awry and rushes to the Trine. He attempts to grab the Trine and save it from the undead army, so he is also trapped.
With all three souls absorbed, the Trine’s magic is let loose. The three characters become one and must work together to venture forth and learn what the Trine is and where it came from. Each of the characters can assume the lead as an image of their former selves is projected as a fully functioning avatar. However, only one of the heroes is available at a time and is limited to his own abilities. The Knight has his armor and sword that make him a powerful adversary to the undead army. The Thief has her grappling hook that enables her to swing across perilous spiked pits. The Wizard can conjure boxes and planks that enable the party to pass the obstacles before them.
The party must venture through the land and find the answers to the Trine while saving the kingdom from the impending doom that is the undead army. The Wizard guides the party because he knows where the ancient knowledge is kept. The Thief is always looking for a way out of the current predicament and angling to take the Trine, even though she has befallen such a fate. The Knight thinks the Thief is untrustworthy and has his eye on her, but he has sworn to protect the treasure and fights to keep the party safe.
Trine is a beautiful game. The backgrounds pop as the vibrant and saturated colors blend with environmental effects. Water splashes and fire pops as you move through the world. The game is an action platformer, rooted in old-school side-scroller type gameplay. However, the world is rendered in 3-D geometry and textured beautifully. Trine is an impressive looking game that keeps the player wanting more.
The beauty of Trine is only topped by its wonderful score. The music is melodic and easy on the ears, never seeming out of place. Rather, it flowed right along with the scenery and action of the game, keeping an air of Renaissance flair. The music makes Trine a very enjoyable experience and is worthy of a standalone soundtrack, which I personally hope Frozenbyte will release.
The gameplay in Trine is quite fun. Not only is the game rooted in old-school action platformers, like the old Nintendo games, but it is also anchored in physics-based puzzles. The physics of Trine are compelling and fun. You figure out the puzzles by placing objects in a certain order, or by knowing how motion will affect individual pieces.
Each character has his own unique way to interact with objects in the world. For instance, the Thief can swing from items with her grappling hook. Often, to get an item to fall that is out of reach, the Thief can grapple the box the item is resting on and swing. Enough force will cause the box to rock and then drop the item. Another way to solve the puzzle would be to have the Wizard create a box so that the Knight could jump up, swing his sword and smash the box, dropping the item. Or just to have the Wizard manipulate the box with his magic, moving it out of the way, allowing for the item to drop.
This was the one thing I loved about Trine. There is no one way to solve a problem. You could use any combination of the characters and because of the physics properties attached to items, if you have an idea of how to do something, you could try and see if it works. The beauty of Trine’s gameplay was just that. It is all about looking at the environment, coming up with an idea of how to do something and giving it a shot. There is no right or wrong, just your pursuit of fun.
Overall, I enjoyed Trine quite a bit. The visuals were fantastic, the music fabulous, and the gameplay was a unique and puzzle filled variation of the old side-scroller. The story and narrative of Trine was completely enjoyable and provided a believable setting and kept me entertained for hours. Frozenbyte should be proud for creating such a great gaming experience. I look forward to more games like Trine in the future and give this one a 92/100.