This is a series of reviews for generally shorter games that one could find for $15 USD or less on Steam. If you have a recommendation for a game that fits this category, let us know!
A knight, a thief, and a fairly unsuccessful wizard get bonded together through an ancient artifact. This is no joke, but the premise for the solid puzzle/platformer game Trine. After the three hapless heroes get bound to the Trine artifact, they must take advantage of their unique skill-sets in order to save the kingdom.
The light of the world is growing dim, and a great evil is slowing coming to power. General unease has settled into the world of men, but none can pinpoint the source. None, that is, save for the Trine artifact. After drawing the attention of Amadeus the Wizard, Pontius the Knight, and Zoya the Thief, the three take turns being released from the Trine when
the player wants to their specific abilities are most needed. Amadeus is less than impressive when fighting against the denizens of darkness you run into, but he is a specialist when it comes to spacial manipulation: he can levitate near anything that isn’t nailed down, as well as create boxes, planks, and floating platforms. In the opposite spectrum, there isn’t much Pontius can achieve where puzzle solving is concerned: he can eventually gain the use of a gravity shield to grab some items, but he excels at breaking things (like skeletons) as blocking attacks with his shield. In between the two is Zoya: she can use her bow to attack enemies from afar, and use her grappling hook to pull and swing off of wooden objects.
As you progress through the game, you will be able to invest into various improvements for our intrepid heroes: perhaps increase the number of items Amadeus can summon at once, turn his floating platforms into wooden ones that Zoya can swing from, give Zoya fire arrows, or further increase Pontius’ affinity for smashing foes.
Very pleasantly, there are no real “must take” upgrades to your characters, and through skill and ingenuity, it is fairly reasonable to play through most levels with only one character. That being said, I do not want to give the impression that the puzzle aspects of this game are overly simple, or that the platforming isn’t challenging; on the contrary puzzles often can call for clever solutions, and the platforming is a good challenge, particularly in the later levels.
While the story of this game, three chosen heroes must vanquish the great evil, is nothing new, the characters themselves are quite endearing. The narrator ( like many in past Flash Review titles) is also notable enough to get it’s own Dota 2 announcer pack. It’s certainly a fun yarn, but don’t expect anything too deep; this is a fairly on the nose fantasy romp.
Trine also includes multiplayer for up to 3 players to simultaneously control different heroes. This opens up entirely new possibilities and ability combinations, such as raising your shield as Pontius and lifting a fried up to another platform. Beyond that, there is also a decent level editor, where those so inclined can create their own difficult death traps for our terrific trio to overcome.
In conclusion, while Trine may not have the most original or deep story, it’s fun cast and solid gameplay are more than enough reason to stick around for the whole ride. Each character brings an enjoyable and unique feel to the game, and by giving the player the power to chose who to improve and in what why, the user can tailor the game to better fit their comfortable play-style. You can make platforming easier by allowing Amadeus more summons, make combat a cinch by dumping points into Pontius, or take the hybrid approach as you please. Overall this is a very solid game that despite being near a decade old, holds up wonderfully to this day.
Note: This title is also available on Wii U, PS3, and PS4 systems, though I can not speak to the quality or differences these versions may have when compared to the PC edition.