Pretty but dumb. Like a really hot babe, it's a fine casual hookup but not worth any real commitment.

User Rating: 4 | Trine PC
I purchased Trine from Steam during an on-line sale. I'm very glad that I did not pay full retail for this rather uninspiring throwback to the 2-d jumping games of the 1980s. The creators clearly devoted a lot of time and resources to creating a game with a pretty appearance but almost no substance.

Trine is set in a generic magical world where everyone has a British accent. One day, a wizard, a thief and a knight walk into a treasure filled castle and for reasons that don't make a whole lot of sense all manage to touch a magic artifact called the Trine that is a cross between a soul-stealer and flypaper. As a result, the three are magically intertwined body and soul. Only one of the three characters can exist in the real world at one time but the player can switch from one to the other at any time. Your mission is to travel the countryside slaying monsters and jumping past obstacles in order to recover the magic necessary to separate the three bodies again.

As a wizard, the player has two main abilities. The wizard can summon three dimensional objects such as cubes, ladders, and floating pedestals as well as levitate objects for short periods of time. These abilities are critical to overcoming obstacles such as climbing over walls or traversing chasms. The wizard's big weakness is that he has no offensive or capabilities other than dropping heavy objects on bad guys.

As a knight, the player can hack and slash with a sword, defend himself with a shield, and later wield a magical 2-handed hammer. The knight is most valuable for close-combat against multiple enemies and for smashing things to bits but he has no inherent magical abilities beyond his upgraded weapons.

As a thief, the player can fire arrows at distant objects or enemies as well as extend or retract a grappling hook. I found the grappling hook to be not so useful because it will only grapple onto a limited number of surfaces and in a limited number of directions. On the other hand, the bow skills are most valuable for combat and the rapid rate of fire is a big plus. Again, like the knight, the thief has no inherent magical abilities but will later acquire magical weapons.

The color palette, textures, and objects are all rendered nicely for an essentially 2-d shooter, especially the backgrounds. Unfortunately, it seems that this is where the creators spent the bulk of their development budget. The game itself is nothing more than a tedious march from the left side of the screen to the right, sometimes up, sometimes down, over walls, under water, across chasms, avoiding boulders, fire, lava, spiked cannonballs, it's all been done before. Monsters appear periodically throughout the game and spawn multiple times from fixed locations so the thief usually makes short work of them by simply firing arrow after arrow until they fall or as a knight one mows them down with very little difficulty. The only common enemies are brainless skeletons (>90% of the time), bats, and giant cave spiders. The skeletons will march like the undead right into the slash of a sword or hammer or else they will stand their with a bow in hand just waiting to get shot. Cave spiders seem to mostly just sit on a wall waiting for you to knock them down with an arrow. The bats at least fly with some degree of randomness that makes them hard to hit and sometimes a b1tch to kill when in groups. Every 5-10 levels there is a mini-boss fight but they are severely nerfed because one can almost always pick them off from an elevated vantage point using the thief's bow.

Along the way, one can collect experience in the form of bottles filled with what looks like Mountain Dew or energy in the form of bottles of what looks like Head and Shoulders. Energy replenishes magical abilities and experience is collected to obtain better weapons, increased rate of fire, or upgraded magic skills. There are also at least a dozen specialized magical items found in treasure chests on each level that are usually much harder to obtain.

The first 8 levels are so easy that I can't imagine any but the most feeble gamers to finish on the first try without taking any damage whatsoever. The game really does not get to be a challenge at all until the last 2-3 levels. Steam supplies a list of Achievements that are basically categorized as, "Find all the experience on level X, level Y, level Z..." The creators have to realize that there just isn't enough of a reason for me to want to try 20 times to jump just the right sequence to get that one bottle of Mountain Dew to get a crappy achievement.

Toward the end of the game, I could not find myself caring a bit whether I was going to finish the game or not. Fortunately the whole game can be played out in less than 5-10 hours so one does not need to invest a whole lot into it. Like a really hot babe, this game is fine for a casual hookup but there's nothing here worth a long term commitment.

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