Trine has potential but there's just so many novice errors that are difficult to look past.
I can appreciate what the developers were trying to do, but there's just so many frustrations and half-assed solutions that prevent this game from really shining.
First things first, I love what Trine IS. A co-op puzzle platformer... these types of games are some of my favorite and I would totally recommend it to anyone looking for some co-op sidescrolling action. I just don't consider Trine an 8/9 rating title.
Now, maybe a 6.5 sounds a little rough, but I'm especially critical on errors that are obvious and clearly apparent... so, where I would normally dock half a point, I dock a full point.
The controls. They're a slippery mess coupled with a terrible adaptive camera which is the perfect recipe for teeth clenching frustration. Constantly you fight the controls to get on that slim ledge, only to over compensate and fall off the ledge. Another frustration is swimming. First of all, you can't see a single damn thing underwater, nor can you effectively control yourself around. When youre close to the surface, your character jumps frantically around and while youre swimming, they sporadically swim in all sorts of directions.
Adaptive camera. The camera is some of the worst adaptive camera work I've ever seen. And unfortunately it could have easily been fixed by fully pulling the camera out when characters get too far from each other. Far too often you will fall down, while your partner(s) will be else where... only for the camera to randomly chose which character it will focus on, or just not focus on anyone at all, and you will have a lovely camera angle of nothing while your characters are slaughtered. It's a sidescroller, I don't need the camera to slightly angle. Just straight on and pull out when the characters get far from each other. SIMPLE.
Graphics. Ya ya, everyone goes ga-ga over the lush bright graphics. But how many times were you absolutely LOST because you couldn't tell wtf anything was? Here's the problem with over-saturated ultra bright lush graphics everywhere: you can't tell anything apart! The backgrounds blend with the foregrounds, the characters blend with the backgrounds, the deadly environmental objects blend with everything. You can't have everything super-saturated on a 2D plane without some sort of atmospheric perspective. Stuff in the foreground should be slightly blurred and things as they progress into the background should be grayed and blurred. Prime example is Limbo. The game uses TWO colors and still it's very clear what is and isn't in front of you.
I think I'm about 3/4 through Trine and I have yet to be stumped by a puzzle for more than 3 seconds. Trine works better as a puzzle solving game with one player than with 2+. I can't tell you how many times I've been easily able to bypass a puzzle simply by creating a platform and levitating my partner over all the obstacles. There is no excuse for this, other than bad and lazy puzzle solving solutions. Portal 1/2 are prime examples of how to make proper puzzles in a non traditional environment.
Like I've said, I'm 3/4 in and I have yet to fight something other than an f-ing skeleton. Unacceptable. No enemy in this game requires more than "shoot shoot slash slash" to defeat. If there are different enemies later on, I apologize, but come on...enough with the skeletons.
Problem #6 - The Wizard
This characters controls are brutal. The cursor moves at 2 different speeds. When you move the cursor, it moves at a fast pace yet when you try to draw an object, it moves at half the speed. It sounds logical in print, however when in use it's a nightmare and often the result is a mess of a shape which wont produce an object. The other control issue with the wizard is there's absolutely no way to fight back. AT LEAST give the wizard a kick or something to moderately defend himself. Nothing is worse than being the last one standing only to be frantically drawing shapes above enemies heads. Another issue is the inability to rotate shapes. When you create an object and hold it, the triggers should rotate the object. I can't tell you how many times I have to use the world geometry to manipulate objects. The physics on held objects doesnt work, just let the player control the orientation.
Problem #7 - The Knight
The knight is the most useless character in the game. Don't get me wrong, he has his place, but he's definitely not needed. More often than not, he takes in as much damage as he dishes out. The character steps forward when he attacks so he's hit often and dies frequently. The knights speed should have been slowed down, his jump should be limited in height and he should be more of the slow enforcer who needs help getting around due to his size. The fact that he's as agile as the thief only proves that each character really doesn't have any identity.
Problem #8 - The Thief
The Thief is probably the most well rounded but she is definitely not without her faults. The grappling hook needed to be directional. The left analog sticks direction should decide where the grappling hook is going, instead of just randomly picking what object to grapple to. Far too often I would jump and grapple, only to grapple the wrong object and swing into a spiked wall. The grapple should also not release when the character touches the ground. Many a times the thief would skim the ground, only to then trickle off the edge and die. With all the technology we have, there should be some solid physics with the grapple as well. The grapple line should have some sort of clipping, which would also add some difficulty. So many times I could just grapple through the entire level without ever touching the ground.
Trine has potential but there's just so many novice errors that are difficult to look past. I'm looking forward to a more polished Trine 2.