A beautiful game that would inevitably suck you into its fantastic world The gameplay is simple but satisfying througout
- charming graphics and subtle ambient music
- interesting use of three characters to finish each level
- environmental puzzles, though easy, are fun to overcome
- could have used more levels and more difficult platforming
Trine's visual splendor is not easy to ignore or overlook: The game is a gorgeous 2D sidecroller with 3D characters and backdrops. If anything, Trine is a testament that 2D gameplay can still be as satisfying as any 3D platformer while retaining the old-school charm.
Story-wise, Trine tells a rather simple fairytale of a mysterious magical artifact that binds the soul of three - a thief, a wizard, and a knight - and their quest to find their release. It's as simple as that, though it is narrated in a wonderful way through a story teller between each of the game's 15 levels. It provides an authentic fairytale feeling that goes well with the visuals.
Levels are designed in a clever but simple way that makes use of your three heroes - which you can transform into any of them at will - to progress. Typically, there are several paths to cross chasms or climbs towers, and, if all of the three heroes were alive, it would provide you an interesting array of options for you to pursue.
Each character has his or her specialties. The knight can carry heavy crates, use a shield to block attacks (from enemies and environment) as well as fling his sword (and later, hammer) at enemies and destructible walls. The thief can use her arrows for long-distance shots, light torches and use a grappling hook to swing across or reach high platforms (or even pull them). The wizard has no offensive skills but can manipulate the environment using telekinesis as well as conjure crates, platforms and bridges.
Much of the fun in the game is derived from using the three's power to overcome obstacles, platforms, and the occasional boss. The thief provides easy access across chasms through her grappling hook, but if there is no platform to hook to, or if she's dead or you simply do not wish to go the easy way, you can always use the wizard's abilities, though the drawback is all his voodoo drains his MP pretty quickly.
The physics based gameplay comes into importance midway through the game to the end, where extensive use of both the wizard and the thief come into play to balance platforms, doorways and whatever the wizard conjures. It comes crucial for all three heroes to be maintained alive to be able to finish levels with ease, otherwise you would have to do with whoever is alive or go back to the previous checkpoint which automatically revives dead comrades.
A level up system is present for an RPG flair, with the experience points coming from slain enemies but mostly from hidden experience potions throughout each level. Finding them is the tricky part, though ultimately leveling up gives you the option to enhance or buy new skills all of which play a crucial part on gameplay. For example, buying the flame arrows for the thief allows her to light torches and burn some objects, though without it you would have to use glowing balls in dark areas if present. Wizard skills are important as they dictate what he can conjure and how many. It's because of how the skills directly affect gameplay that gives the motivation to find experience potions and the satisfaction of leveling up.
The game isn't particularly long, so my only gripe really is that it could have used more levels and more difficult platforming because it's the most satisfying aspect of the gameplay. It's a highly recommended game for anyone looking for a beautiful, old school sort of fun.