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Trine for Mac – Review

We review Trine, a puzzling platformer for the Mac with some truly stunning graphics

Information Panel
Every now and then a game can come along and completely take you by surprise. Such was the case with Trine, a game we stumbled upon quite by accident while perusing the Mac App Store.

The story concerns a thief, wizard and knight who all touch a magic crystal that binds them together into one body. You have control over all three, but can only use one at a time, switching between them with a press of a key. Each character has a different set of skills. The wizard can conjure boxes and bridges out of thin air, as well as levitate objects and move them around, but he isn’t great in a fight. The thief can use her bow to kill enemies at a distance, and has a grappling hook  that will attach to wooden objects and help her swing over large gaps. Finally, the knight is excellent at combat, and has a sword and a shield to both attack and defend. He can also use his strength to pick up and throw items around the levels.

The character screen allows you to upgrade stats

Each skill is entirely different, but equally vital to helping you progress. The level design is excellent, and forces you to think about how you’re going to cross the traps and chasms that you are presented with regularity. There are often a number of ways to cross the obstacles you encounter, and looking for visual clues around the screen can also be important.

Speaking of visuals, the graphics on show within Trine are simply sumptuous. Lighting is pitched perfectly to create glowing plants and beautiful skies, and the depth of the world is simply spellbinding. As you scroll along a 2D plane you see huge amounts of detail in both the fore- and background, with waterfalls, turning cogs and enemy camps all being fully rendered in jaw-dropping detail. The animations are also incredibly smooth; the three characters move beautifully and the great physics engine makes the game feel incredibly realistic. There are a number of options to turn the graphics to a lower setting if you’re experiencing lag, but we tried Trine on both a MacBook Air and a basic Mac Mini and had no problems at all.

In Detail...

Final Score
The three protagonists are deep and well built, and each has an individual character that is built as the story progresses. There is some excellent voice acting on show, and the conversations between the three souls trapped in one body can be really engaging, and sometimes funny. The characters can level-up as they gain experience, learning new abilities and collecting items that can boost their health and energy. These are all dealt with in the inventory screen, which is a little confusing at first with little explanation to help you out. Once you’ve worked everything out, though, you’ll be able to give each character the collected items that will help them the most.

The difficulty of the game is aimed pretty well too. There are three difficulty settings from the start, with a fourth unlockable difficulty if you found ‘hard’ still too easy. To be honest we played on medium and found ourselves dying a few times, which surprised us. The enemies aren’t exceptionally dangerous, but the need to switch between characters ramps up the concentration required. Boss fights are tough too, but add a welcome change to the rest of the platforming action, and regular checkpoints help to stop things becoming frustrating when you do die.

The lighting of the screen is especially good, and adds real atmosphere

As we said at the start, Trine came from nowhere and impressed us hugely. The astounding graphics and tight controls drew us in and we haven’t stopped playing. With Trine 2 on the horizon, now is the perfect time to give the first game a try; we can’t recommend it highly enough.