Have You Played… Trine?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

If Trine [official site] were simply about a thief fighting through a magical adventure with her bow and grappling hook, I’d really dig it. I’d also be well up for a game about a tipsy wizard who saves the day by conjuring big boxes about skeleton’s heads and airsurfing on magic platforms. Heck, I’d be up for a game with a knight smashing monsters with a big hammer and solving physics puzzles. Trine is all three of those games in one, and that’s great.

Frozenbyte’s physics-based puzzle-platformer is a merry romp through a colourful fantasy world, smashing monsters, swinging free, and generally saving the day with an unlikely trio of heroes drawn together by fate. An eponymous magical artifact binds them, locking two inside while the third roams free (unless you’re playing co-op). The wizard’s technically unarmed but can summon and move objects, handy for both puzzles and violence. The knight’s the strongest fighter, but can knock things around a bit too. And the thief, well, the thief’s flipping brilliant. Her grappling hook is an absolute joy to use, with just enough spring, reach, and speed for satisfying tricks like zipping across levels or swinging yourself up to a platform above.

The puzzling’s light, mostly boiling down to physics puzzles of moving and activate things. It’s fun, though, and tends to support a range of solutions.

Bold colours, warm and funny narration, and that grappling hook mean my mind often wanders to Trine. It’s a fun game. It’s very nice, in the nicest sense of the word.

It’s now even colourful than it was at launch, as Frozenbyte recently rebuilt it in Trine 2’s engine as an Enchanted Edition, bringing a makeover along with online co-op.

27 Comments

  1. sloop7 says:

    We were just playing it last night 3 player after going through the sequel…great fun (mainly generated by our mild incompetence)…is no. 3 worth getting yet?

    • Jalan says:

      It’s “done”, or as “done” as it will be anyway. Given the fact that it is relatively short and ends on a really unsatisfying cliffhanger, picking it up at a good discount is recommended.

      For me, it really felt like it was disjointed, almost as if the initial plan was to break the series off into mini episodes (I like to call it “Trine Stories”) and then they decided to go ahead with whatever an actual main story for a third part would have been. Then along the way, they went way off course by adding another dimension to the game and seemingly forgetting what made Trine enjoyable in the first place.

      I don’t know what the Early Access feedback was like, but it really seems like it could’ve consisted of people who bought only Trine 2 and demanded that any remaining spare time be spent on making the game as nauseatingly pretty as possible. Granted, the series has always had that petroleum jelly smeared on a camera lens storybook visual quality about it but it really drives it home hard in the third game.

      FrozenByte really overreached with it, so hopefully Shadwen proves a success enough that they can potentially consider a Trine 4 or something at a future time and hopefully rein themselves in a bit to not blow through the budget by adding another dimension into the mix or focusing too much on prettying everything up.

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    gritz says:

    I always wished the Trine series would stitch its levels together in a more Metroidvania style, rather than linear discrete levels. Good fun though.

    A solid grapple hook mechanic is enough to make any game decent, but the art and the puzzles put it over the top.

  3. SeanybabeS says:

    I enjoyed the first and second Trine. Never visited the third though.

    Also, for some reason, I have 3 spare Trine 2 steam gifts/keys, if anyone wanted them?

  4. FreeTom says:

    One-size-fits-all Trine puzzle tip: you’ve missed something that was supposed to be obvious.

  5. DingDongDaddio says:

    Hated this game. I played this and Braid around the same time and had the same problem with both: TEDIUM.

    Puzzles are solved through tedium, not thinking. The solution is obvious but it just takes me a while to slide all the conveniently cube-like boulders in to place. Or I have to put the cube under the other cube before some other cube drops and it’s a test of reflexes. These games were never fun for me.

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      gritz says:

      “The solution is obvious”

      More often than not there are actually multiple solutions, not all of which are tedious.

    • Zekiel says:

      I found it visually beautiful but annoying and never completed it (this may have been Trine 2 rather than the original; I can’t recall). Even my usual solution of going to the internet for puzzle solutions when particularly stuck failed – because you can improve your characters when levelling up, the walkthroughs I found would merrily tell me to use the wizard to conjure a type or quantity of box that I couldn’t do.

      To be fair, puzzle games don’t seem to be my thing really, so this shouldn’t really be taken as a point against the game :-)

    • Collieuk says:

      Couldn’t agree more with the tedium comment. Whilst it is nicely presented, it just doesn’t ever feel fun. Maybe it’s because my time to play games is very limited but I couldn’t justify playing Trine or it’s sequel even if it is an accomplished game.

      • Dare_Wreck says:

        That’s exactly my problem with Trine also. I bet if I could have played this 10 years ago, I would have loved it and played it through to completion, but I have soooo many games in my backlog now and so little time to play them these days that I just never got along with Trine. My game ADHD kicked in, and I couldn’t stand playing it more than about 15 minutes before I wanted to move on to something else. I love the presentation of the game – it really is beautiful. But I found the gameplay too shallow or basic to keep me interested.

        • dare says:

          … so in 10 years I will be a wreck and dislike Trine? Man. My future sucks.

          • Dare_Wreck says:

            Not really – you have an awesome kid. …Then again, that’s why you don’t have time to play games anymore.

    • MisterFurious says:

      The solution to every puzzle is to make a box with the Wizard and then put a platform on it and then stand on it and raise the box to wherever you need to go.

  6. alw says:

    I love Trine. It’s like playing a big hug.

  7. RaunakS says:

    The enchanted edition is a wonderful upgrade to an absolutely lovely looking game. I believe Ori and the Blind Forest captured much of the look and feel of the Trine series, though it had far less frustrating puzzles.

    I was watching a youtuber (link to youtube.com) play through the series recently, and I realized how few games these days have the whimsy of the ones I played while younger! Trine 3 is also looking pretty good, probably going to be my game of the year if they carry on as they have …

    • Jalan says:

      Trine 3 is done. If you’re expecting more from it, I’m sorry to be the bringer of bad news.

  8. davebo says:

    I’m a big fan of the whole Trine series, although adding a Z axis for the third if anything just made it slightly less fun. It was just fine as a 2D scroller. Depending on your friends it can be easier solving puzzles alone, but definitely more entertaining together.

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    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Pushing your friends off of ledges into pits of alarmingly sharp spikes with a levitating clockwork box is fun every single time.

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    particlese says:

    Yes! I somehow died a lot in the beginning, but soon I was having fun, and by the end I was having tons of fun. Then there was some “climb a tall level to a big fight” DLC thing which came with the edition I had, so it was basically a surprise gift that let me use all my built-up skill with the game in one nicely flowing half-hour (or so) of awesomeness.

    Still have to play the others in the series, and I think I’ll start with the first again, now that the enchanted edition has brought it to Linux.

  11. kittycatgirl2k says:

    I wanted to like this game. The idea is interesting and the art design is gorgeous. But it was so boring. Single player or co op, there was just no fun to be had. Too many block puzzles. It’s a shame because it feels like there’s potential for so much more.