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Trine (PlayStation 3) artwork

Trine (PlayStation 3) review


"... "



...

"Once upon a time", the narrator assures you, accompanied to Ari Pulkkinen's playful soundtrack, "there was a King". Naturally, there's a kingdom as well. And magic. I'd be sceptical about the magic if I were king, because it always means trouble. But the King and his wizards fashioned three powerful artefacts, each representing the important parts that make up the wholeness of things - the mind, the body and the soul - and so maintaining balance and almost certain prosperity in the kingdom.

Unfortunately, the artefact representing the mind has, minutes of story-telling time prior to the game starting, been lost. And so the kingdom falls into chaos and disaster.

As a result of this, for a variety of random yet interesting reasons, a thief, a wizard and a knight each make their way to the Wizard's Academy vault. And due to yet another completely random accident with magical artefacts, they become inexplicably linked together. Until they can break the spell - or save the kingdom, as faery-tale narratives often allow for - whichever comes first.

After the magical accident, the game functions like so: at any given time, you can switch between the three heroes. Or if you are playing with friends in front of the TV, play either two or all three characters at the same time. Any character not played will disappear into the Trine again (for that is what the artefact is called). So that the player, or the players, can use the different abilities of the heroes when they are needed, to progress through the levels.


the fiendishly challenging rotating seesaw requires a more elaborate strategy




As far as design goes, using each individual hero's strengths to complete the puzzles is what the game revolves around. Whether it is using the knight to fend off undead, while the wizard levitates a broken bridge, so the thief can jump across to the next checkpoint. Or if it's slowly building a tower of planks and boxes to reach a wooden support further up - that the thief can then expertly grapple with her hook.

Of course, the fiendishly challenging rotating seesaw requires a more elaborate strategy - because of the wholesome physics based gameplay, and the different weight of the characters for example. Which makes the characters on the screen indirectly interact with each other through the environment.

The game may not be a graphical marvel in pseudo 3d - but it is very beautiful. And the bridge between the detailed character animation and the physics based levels is so well done that the flow of the game is very pleasing - you rarely seem limited by game-world constraints that do not make intuitive sense: in spite of the world detail, the characters believably belong there.

Frozenbyte also avoids the typical pitfalls with dynamic games like this - the puzzles are not too guided, or completely without direction. Some sequences perhaps are less interesting to play without using all characters at the same time. And others can simply be solved by using the same method repeatedly, since the game does not force you to change strategies very often.

Meaning that it's possible to play this game in different ways: either rushing through it in about 6-8 hours. Or otherwhise enjoying the journey for at least 10 - and like other enjoyable experience, still wish that it could go on for longer.

Trough the magic of thorough playtesting, the game also lacks the typical objects plastered to walls, snaking ropes, or sliding objects with no weight - that always tend to show up in physics games. Which adds to the flowing gameplay experience. And along with the rest, makes the whole game - like the trio of heroes, and indeed the fictional Kingdom - being larger than simply the sum of the individual parts put together.

...
Trine is a cooperative or single player fairy-tale platformer presented in pseudo 3d. Whether it was because of Ari Pulkkinen's soundtrack, the faery-tale narrative, the lush art-direction, the briefly introduced but interesting characters, or the surprisingly successful physics based local multiplayer - this game charmed me completely.

Rating: 9/10

fleinn's avatar
Community review by fleinn (September 25, 2009)

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Feedback

If you enjoyed this Trine review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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wolfqueen001 posted September 25, 2009:

Hey. I'm glad you continue to submit here, and I hope you keep doing so. If you're open to feedback, here are some things I thought you may want to look into for making your review read a little better.

Firstly, you don't need to start the revview (or end it) with ellipses. It's unnecessary here, and doens't really add anything at all to the review.

Secondly, your "conclusion", the paragraph you italicized, can function well as an intro, and even works a lot better than how you have it worded here. Also, where you have it now, anyone can just scroll to the end of your review and read that paragraph and get a general idea of what the game's about, thus making their time reading what you've written before then almost pointless.

Thirdly, the way your review reads off now is rather clunky, sporadic and confusing. You sort of just throw us all into the middle of the game... without any real explanation. I think, at least in some parts, you're trying to be cheeky with how little the game itself actually tells you from the start (I assume), but it doesn't really work the way you have it now. You need to elaborate a lot more and organize your paragraphs in such a way that it all flows together chronologically and in an organized manner. For example, you give some intriguing examples about how the characters can be used... but because I don't know much more than "These are who you have.... let's go on an adventure!", I'm a bit confused as to how exactly they're applied. I also have no sense of connection to them just from the review since I don't have any real perception of them outside of the most basic sense.

Fourthly, you have this quote box thing to the right in the middle of your review that's completely unnecessary and detracts from the text itself. If you'd had a screenshot or something, that might function as a good caption, but as you don't, it's not doing anyone any favors and makes the spacing look strange.

Lastly, and this is a minor issue, you have spacing errors between some paragraphs - at least two of them have two spaces instead of one.

Anyway, all you really need is a bit of a rewrite... and quite a bit of elaboration. You have the basics of the game laid out pretty well, so that's always a good thing. You just need to organize them and expand on them in order to make this a much more engaging review.

Keep up the work. I hope this feedback helps. I'm sure it sounds like a lot, and I don't want you to get discouraged or anything. I'm just trying to help. You do have a good solid basis here; it just needs a bit more tidying up and elaboration. If you want, I can try to elaborate on specific points.
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fleinn posted September 26, 2009:

Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, I'm always open for feedback and criticism. :)

"Also, where you have it now, anyone can just scroll to the end of your review and read that paragraph and get a general idea of what the game's about, thus making their time reading what you've written before then almost pointless."

Ouch. :D No, that's a good point. I shouldn't need summaries or round-offs like that. And like you say, I wrote it the other way around from how it probably should be. ..I don't know.. The feeling I had was that the story is the kind of wrapper in a role-playing game that is at once completely immaterial, but also necessary to make the game worth playing. I mean, the story is completely silly. Of the grinning wildly kind. But the wrapper context about the trine and the three artefacts, is still the most important thing about the game.. along with the rest, I almost said..

So I wanted to reach back to that towards the end, just to not make it a hands-on of how the game plays... and without sort of spoiling the way the story only starts to vaguely take shape halfway through the game.. But yeah. When I read it again now, it's a bit like stating that what I've written before - if you went ahead and read it again a few times - really makes sense after all. I can see why that might not be so good. :)

..I'm going to decide to interpret what you said as if what I'm writing gives off an impression of being very interesting, but that I'm holding back on why..? You know, I try sometimes to write out the entire reasoning, and then cut it down afterwards.. but it takes so much time!

"Fourthly, you have this quote box thing to the right in the middle of your review that's completely unnecessary and detracts from the text itself. If you'd had a screenshot or something, that might function as a good caption, but as you don't, it's not doing anyone any favors and makes the spacing look strange."

..You're making fun of my css skillz, aren't you. :( ..no, honest, I just hate the wall of (tiny) text. But using absolute sizes was probably a bad idea.. ...And finding a good screenshot is a lot of work.. I never thought it was, until I started writing reviews. :)

"If you want, I can try to elaborate on specific points."

If you can, please. Like I said, what I wanted was to 1. mirror the wrapper context used in the game. 2. describe gameplay mechanics. 3. ..profit. So I am very interested in how it looks to others. I won't do exactly like you tell me to, but it's still interesting ;)
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wolfqueen001 posted September 26, 2009:

Hm... Well, I'm a little confused as to what you're trying to say, but I think I have an idea. Still, I'm going to pick apart your review to try and show you what I'm talking about. I'll try to model the examples akin to what you're trying to get at, too. Forgive me if I err.

You don't have to follow the advice if you don't want to, but... I think it's definitely something you should consider, especially with later works.

"Once upon a time", the narrator ensures you, accompanied to Ari Pulkkinen's playful soundtrack, "there was a King". And there's a kingdom. And magic. I'd be sceptical about the magic if I were king, because it always means trouble. But the King and his wizards fashioned three powerful artefacts, each representing the important parts that make up the wholeness of things - and so maintaining balance in the kingdom.

My main problem with this paragraph is how it starts. I just kind of feel like I'm thrown in the middle, and while it sounds like this all happens rather early on, I think I feel this way because you start off with a quote. Now a quote can work quite well in reviews sometimes, especially if you manage to make it really amusing, but here it feels... almost forced. I think you'd be better just describing everything like you do later in the paragraph. I really like how you finish describing things. It comes off as very nonchalant and almost witty as if it's... not very important, while at the same time telling us the basic premise of the game. And I think that's the "wrapper/mirror" thing you're talking about. So I just think you should make the whole paragraph about that.

Also, I think this would benefit from a more introductory paragraph. Like, the one I cited above sounds like it's part of the review itself... not a real introductioin, and I think that's part of the reason why it throws me off. Perhaps you could rearrange that conclusion paragraph of yours to make it a functional introduction that would make a great start for this review as a whole.

Unfortunately, the artefact representing the mind has, minutes of story-telling time prior to the game starting, been lost. And so the kingdom falls into chaos and disaster.

I think you can just say "one of the artefacts" here because I don't recall you explaining in the first paragraph what each of the three are... except that there are three of them and that they're important to keeping balance. Describing one of the artefacts without describing the others could create a little bit of confusion with what exactly you're talking about.

As a result of this disaster, for a variety of random yet interesting reasons, a thief, a wizard and a knight each make their way to the Wizard's Academy vault. And due to yet another completely random accident with magical artefacts, they become inexplicably linked together. Until they can break the spell - or save the kingdom, whichever comes first.


I think you're still trying to use that tactic of brushing off the plot here... but I think it suffers a little bit because of just... how involved it is. I mean, there are many different discussions about artefacts. It gets a little confusing which ones you're referring to if you're just reading it through the first time. I think a little more elaboration, or at least identifying them by names (which would require further elaboration in previous paragraphs), would do wonders here. I know you tell us what Trine is in the next paragraph, but I think it would be better to tell us here.

As far as design goes, using each individual hero's strengths to complete the puzzles is what the game revolves around

This is just awkward phrasing. Something like "In order to complete the game's puzzles, you need to use each individual hero's strengths"

Whether it is using the knight to fend off undead, while the wizard levitates a broken bridge, so the thief can jump across to the next checkpoint. Or if it's slowly building a tower of planks and boxes to reach a wooden support further up - that the thief can then grapple with her hook. Of course, the fiendishly challenging rotating seesaw requires a more elaborate strategy - because of the wholesome physics based gameplay, and the different weight of the characters for example

I really like the examples you're tryiing to lay across here. However, as a whole, the structure needs a little tidying up. Mostly this is just awkward phrasing. Instead of starting out with "Whether" and trying to make a list of things from there, I would just describe an example specific to each hero just as it is without necessarily trying to link them. Also, towards the end, this is the first time I'm hearing of the physics engine... Dropping it here sort of throws me off. While it's fine to have it there, I think you should make note of the physics in your intro somewhere if you haven't yet, should you swap out the conclusion.

Also, that's the paragraph with the quote box. Haha. I didn't mean to insult your amazing CSS skills - I certainly can't do that - but... the box basically tells us one of the examples you used in your paragraph, so.... just from a basic "necessary" basis, it's... irrelevant. Sorry. =(

The game may not be a graphical marvel in pseudo 3d - but it is very beautiful. And the bridge between the detailed character animation and the physics based levels is so well done that the flow of the game is very pleasing - you rarely seem limited by game-world constraints that do not make intuitive sense. In spite of the world detail, the characters simply belong there.

See. This is a pargraph that feels like it belongs before the one I just took apart. If that had been in there, the one above it would make much more sense. Granted, if you do this, you would have to rearrange things so that everything coming before also flows nicely and makes just as much sense, but I'm sure you can do it.

The paragraph coming after is pretty good. (This is the one starting with "Frozenbyte"). It elaborates more on the puzzle thing, which would definitely be appropriate to come after the neat examples you cited - should you choose to shift things around. However, the one after that I have issues with, and I will cite below.

Trine also magically avoids the typical objects plastered to walls, snaking ropes, or sliding objects with no weight - that always tend to show up in physics games. Which adds, along with the rest, to the whole game being larger than the sum of it's individual parts.

I feel like you're just throwing this in as an after thought. While I see it as relevant... I don't see any kind of mention anywhere else in the review to make me think of this. In fact, this is something that might be better integrated throughout the review... like within the other paragraphs citing specific examples. Or, alternatively, you can give a more concrete example here instead of just describing how it is. Also, if you swap out the italicized conclusion at the end, this paragraph would not function well as a conclusion. You would need to create a new more complete conclusion to wrap up the review.

I hope this helps. =D I also just think simply tidying up some of the awkward phrasings would go a long way. So even if you just do that little bit, this review would improve dramatically.

Keep up the good work! I do hope you consider the advice and try to revise this one at last a little. But ultimately, the choice is yours. Either way, the opinions are there for you to consider for the future, so that's always a good thing.
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fleinn posted September 27, 2009:

:) Thanks for good feedback.

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True posted September 28, 2009:

After reading this review, I wanted to check the game out...

And I'm sure this going to validate my stupidity, but I wasn't able to find it. I checked Amazon and only found the PC version. Then I consider it would be on the Playstation store since it says PSN but I couldn't find it there either

It's strange to me...
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zippdementia posted September 28, 2009:

It's on PSN. Just have to search... harder...? What country are you in, that might change things.

WQ, I want to give you a gold star for your feedback efforts on this one! We need more members like you!
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True posted September 28, 2009:

USA. I'll look again, but even using the search function didn't produce any results. I may need a software update or something.
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zippdementia posted September 28, 2009:

My mistake:

"...while a release in the US is expected on the 1st of October."

I guess I saw an ad for it or something.
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True posted September 28, 2009:

Ha. Now I don't feel so stupid. We should update that, though, Senator Venter. On the sidecar it says September 10th.
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fleinn posted October 03, 2009:

Seems the US release date is the 22nd of October. hm.

http://www.psu.com/Trine-gets-US-release-date--a008222-p0.php

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