Once upon a time, in a land far far away, a Kingdom was prospering. But peace couldn’t last so long… The old king died. With no descendant to the throne, the kingdom fell into chaos. Lust for power blinded knights and wizards alike. New kings emerged, only to fall the very next day. But the madness of men would soon be overshadowed by a far greater danger : the magic that once gave life and good fortune had transformed into something sinister. One by one, grave by grave, the dead began to rise feeding off the energy that grew stronger on each passing night. Fear spread throughout the kingdom, and it was soon abandoned… Only a knight, a wizard and a thief linked by the unlimited power of the Trine, an ancient artifact, can save it.
(Source : Trine introduction)
And that’s when you enter into the story! The scenario of Trine is simply first class. It seems like it’s an old legend that was chanted in middle age by troubadours in the king’s court during cold winter nights. Whether you were having a nap or jumping out of stage in a crowd full of groupies before playing, you will dive instantly in Trine’s medieval and fantastic atmosphere. Thanks to every little aspect of the game as you will see in this indie game review.
I would say Trine graphics are amazeballs, but to stay in the vibes of the game let’s classify them in the magical section. Be it in a forest, a mine, a dragon cemetery, an abandoned village, a forge or a castle invaded by skeletons and a big bad villain, the sceneries of the 15 levels will make you forget everything that’s around the screen. Not that it’s hyper realistic stuff, but with the story going on and the music coming to your ears, you just feel like you’re living the captivating tale of an old book so covered in dust that anybody with a regular nose would sneeze their brains out for 5 minutes after opening it. Ok, enemies are not very varied (skeletons, skeletons with helmets, skeletons with shields, two or three big monsters with skin issues on their back, fire blowing skeletons) and so are some elements such as blocks, buttons or doors. But still, magic is here dude!
You’ll be playing a mage, a knight and a thief between which you can switch instantly, just by pressing one button. Each character has its own skills (respectively telekinesis, protecting yourself with a shield and a grappling hook for example) that you will have to use throughout the game to finally vanquish the evil. Except for the final level, I don’t believe you can get through the game with only one character (and if you did, video or it never happened) but it is made so that you can most often choose your way to beat it. Will you crush the skeletons with your sword, an arrow or a box magically appearing out of nowhere? Will you jump over the abyss on platforms, use your grappling hook or create a magical bridge to walk over? So many questions that will need to be answered, especially in order to pick up experience jars and secret items in troves that will help you upgrade your skills and stats.
Then again, the magic happens. Medieval music will play all along your epic adventure to give you a deep feeling of being a hero from the past saving his/her kingdom, and that you will become the king’s best pal at the end of the game. Narration is available in 4 languages (English, French, Spanish and German) and for having listened to three of them they are quality material every time. Each chapter of the game is punctuated by small chunks of storytelling and the characters will also talk a little bit sometimes when you start the action. Other sound effects are also quite good, but nothing exceptional either. Sorry for the guy who made them, I hope it’s the same bloke that did the music or he will certainly get sad. Anyway, excellent soundtrack, it’s a shame it’s not available on steam!
Taste (Lasting appeal)
I finished the game in around 6 hours, with an hour and a half spent on the last level. WORST. HOUR. AND. A. HALF. OF. ME. LIFE. While most of the game is quite easy since you have frequent checkpoints (every time one of your character dies it is resurrected with half of its life on a checkpoint) the last level has only one, at the near end of the level. It means you have either to rock til the end, or do without one or two of your characters when they die. Here you can do everything with one character, but it will require great skill, luck and perseverance. But don’t try it. Seriously. It’s frustrating enough with three characters. This put aside, replay value is quite interesting since there is 3 levels of difficulty plus a hardcore mode, in which you will have a higher number of enemies (yes, more skeletons) and limited resurrections for your characters. You will find a coop multiplayer mode as well that changes completely the gameplay since each of the 3 players has a character and sticks with it. You will then need to use teamplay to get through the levels, and pray to not be teamed with a noob or a stupid guy. But if you’re with friends or a reasonably good team, it’s really fun to play! And if it’s not enough, you always have Trine 2 and 3 waiting for you to play with.
Smell (Overall experience)
Brand new troubadour lute
I don’t know if you’re a guitarist (but you certainly have a friend or two who is) but the smell of a brand new guitar is astonishing. It has deep fragrances of wood, and you can almost feel the love the luthier has put in his instrument. It’s music to your nose. The same thing happens with Trine: its well related story, its enchanting music and its perfect gameplay make it an instrument you will always have pleasure to play, even after five hundred years.
Thanks to : Pampel (Nico), MSK (Hervé), Vignou (Quentin), PM (Paul), Srompich (Sai), Sly (Sylvain), Mommy and Daddy.