Trine is clever and unique, but it pretty much wears out its welcome by the end.

User Rating: 7.5 | Trine PC
Trine is one of the more interesting applications of physics in gaming to date. With some exceptions, realistic physics has been a mostly cosmetic feature of action-oriented games up until now. Games like Skyrim and Crisis have tons of realistically modeled objects and environments, but the game wouldn't be fundamentally changed without them. In a few cases, such as Half-Life 2, physics has also allowed you to use objects in the environment as weapons or solve puzzles. Trine is one of the few games where physics is so essential to the gameplay that it wouldn't be the same game without it. The fact that it is a side scrolling downloadable RPG makes it even more unique. It is colorful and charming, but also a little too much of a repetitive one trick pony. This game is a very easy one to like, although by the time that you reach the end, you will probably find that it has worn out its welcome.

In Trine, you play as not one, but three characters merged into one body, and you can switch between them at any time. There is a wizard, a warrior, and a thief. The warrior is your close range muscle, the thief is essentially your archer and your platforming specialist, and the wizard is an important utility character that can manipulate the environment. The functions are a little bit interchangeable, and there is usually more than one way to solve a problem. As you travel through your adventure, you encounter enemies and all kinds of obstacles, like walls, pits, spikes, and lava. You also encounter a lot of skeletons, which basically just rush at you or shoot you. On occasion, you encounter a boss character. The environments also contain all sorts of goodies like experience potions and magic items that give you bonuses. All three of your characters can jump, but your thief has a grappling hook that makes her the most useful character for navigating. The wizard, on the other hand, can use telekinesis on objects and create some other objects like cubes, bridges, or floating platforms.

The open-ended design to each level is the brilliance in the game. How do you get across a spike pit? You can have the wizard create one cube on each side and place a plank over them to create a bridge. You can have the thief find a spot to shoot the grappling hook and swing over. With boxes, platforms, and planks, you can create a practically infinite combination of bridges, and ramps. You can discover or even create your own game mechanics – if you appreciate emergent gameplay, then you'll find a lot to like here.

For a 2D side scroller, Trine looks pretty nice. It is bright and colorful, although it doesn't take very long before you have seen everything that there is to see. Unfortunately, even with its strong traits, Trine runs out of steam before you reach the end. There is a disappointing lack of variety in the level design. They ramp up in difficulty until about halfway through the game, and then they pretty much plateau there, giving you the same moving platforms and lava pits over and over again. Enemy variety is pretty much nonexistent, and most enemies can be dispatched from long range with a bow or by smashing them at short range with your warrior's sword. All the while, there is no story development at all, as you are just travelling from one location to another in an effort to get to the end. The open-ended physics play is nice, but sometimes it's annoying too. Stacks of objects topple over. Ramps slide off of blocks. The objects are too realistic sometimes, and it leads to some frustrating moments.

Trine is not the greatest or most unforgettable experience that you can have, but it is worth the download and the budget price if you find time on your hands and a lack of new releases. The colorful style and freeform problem-solving make Trine a very unique experience.
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