Thursday, June 25, 2009

E3 09: Trine Hands-On Preview

2D platforming continued its comeback at E3 in a big way, with New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Shadow Complex leading the charge. So it’s easy then to overlook a fairly anonymous downloadable 2D platformer like Trine. That would be a mistake, because Frozenbyte’s upcoming title was easily one of the best games I saw at this year’s E3.

At its core, Trine is a 2D physics-based puzzling platformer. In its single player, you can toggle between its three characters at will, namely the Knight, the Thief, and the Wizard. The Knight can slash enemies with his sword, and use the right analogue stick to block with his shield from any direction. The Thief shoots arrows in any direction, and can grapple Bionic Commando-style under wooden objects like walkways and boxes. The Wizard summons boxes (one at a time) into existence by drawing them, and can move objects like bridges and boxes telekinetically.

What makes this interesting is Trine’s co-op, played by two or three players, in which you cannot assume the same role as another character. This makes the puzzles harder, as you’ll all have to work together to find a solution for getting each player across the game’s chasms. Here’s an example: a path ahead is covered in spikes while there’s a series of platforms high in the air. The Thief can grapple across the platforms from underneath, but the Knight and the Wizard have to jump across them, and reaching them can prove tricky. First off, the Wizard creates a box to stand on, then the Knight throws said box, with Wizard perched on it, up towards the platforms. Then the Wizard summons a box for the Knight to stand on, and then the Wizard telekinetically drags the Knight on the box using his wizardry. If it sounds complicated, don’t worry, because it’s actually easier said than done or thought out. The game is all physics-based, so where the Wizard grabs the box with the pointer will actually effect how it will move, as does where the Knight is standing. Working in tandem to keep one player perched on a box is just one example of how teamwork in Trine will really pay off.

Check out the rest of the article here, at TGR.
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