Publisher: Nobilis Games
Genre: Action Adventure
Release date: June 2009
A new game for the PS3 and the PC is poised to change our perception of current 2D side-scrollers. Lauri Hyvärinen and his crew at Frozenbyte are putting the finishing touches on Trine, a fantasy game that utilizes physics as a primary element of its interface.
Trine brings something new to the gameplay table. It possesses unique visual and auditory panache in a fantasy setting, but its physics-based interface is what will likely make it stand out. According to Hyvärinen, “while our physics bring neat ragdoll deaths, they also are something the player must use in order to pass various puzzles and obstacles. I think Trine brings something new to the fantasy genre of games – or to games altogether for that matter.” Physics is an essential component of the gameplay, with each puzzle requiring you to move objects such as counterweights or swings to solve them.
Trine features three unique characters that you guide through its mystical world. You alternate between the Thief, the Knight and the Wizard in real time, using each character’s innate abilities to progress. The Knight can throw objects at enemies and trigger hazards, with an arsenal of melee weapons at his disposal. The Thief uses ranged weapons and wields a grappling hook to reach across big gaps. And the Wizard, Trine’s most intriguing character, can summon objects out of thin air, helping him to progress across platforms and attack enemies.
Utilizing a modified engine from Frozebyte’s previous title, Shadowgrounds, Trine is shaping up to be a visual feast. The use of vibrant colors and its distinct artistic flavor shows this game is truly a labor of love. You will trek through dungeons in vast mountain ranges and try to keep cool in a factory filled with flowing lava. These details ensure that each level appears distinct.
Frozenbyte has had an exceptional experience developing for the PS3. “Being a PC developer with no prior console experience, everyone told us it’s either impossible, never going to happen or at least very hard, but we had our first playable [version] running [on the PS3] in five weeks and everything has been very smooth ever since,” Hyvärinen says. “our programmers must be some kind of wizards, and Sony has been very helpful also.” Interestingly, Trine might not be limited to just the PS3 and PC. Though hardware capabilities are limited on the Wii, a spinoff for Nintendo’s hit console focused on the Wizard is possible if the game does well.
Trine is shaping up to be an interesting 2D platformer with a lot of potential. Its fantasy and unique graphical charms alone are worth the price of admission, and its essential use of physics is its strongest gameplay mechanic. We’ll find out this summer what Trine really has in store for us.