Knights of the Trine

Need a 2D side scrolling action game with multiple classes and upgradable abilities? Me neither, but then along came Trine and reminded me why I did. Trine allows you to traverse a medieval fantasy with the power to switch between different classes on the fly. Each class has their own abilities that you can upgrade if secrets are found and enemies are killed.  Along with a variety of levels and clever exploration, Trine is full of every ingredient needed in a compelling game.

Trine is the story of an empire in disarray after the death of a king and an undead army taking advantage of the chaos. Our heroes (a wizard, a thief, and a knight) accidentally stumble upon an artifact called a Trine, which binds the souls of the people around it. From this point on, each hero can only exist physically one at a time. Most games would allow you to switch between characters without a thought, but Trine cleverly makes this quirk a part of the story. After the incident, our heroes press on to save the kingdom and separate their souls.

The game allows you to upgrade your abilities as well. Each character has a short list of skills that help you get through each level. The wizard can conjure up boxes out of thin air (great for reaching secrets up high), the thief can shoot fire arrows to light up dark levels, and the knight can break through walls. As you kill enemies (or collect experience potions) you gain XP, allowing you to upgrade all these benefits. Being able to create one box at the beginning of the game is helpful, but the ability to create up to 4 boxes and few walkways opens up a whole world of possibilities for exploration.

You can play traditionally with a keyboard and mouse, but the game also gives you the option to plug in a 360 controller if it’s more comfortable for you. I assume most PC gamers would just be comfortable with the old QWERTY, but I found the platforming easier with a controller. You can also plug in multiple keyboards and/or controllers and play with up to three people (each taking the role of one of the characters). Unfortunately, there’s no online play, but having each class on screen at once makes for some pretty clever puzzle solving that isn’t possible in single player.

This game was nothing but fun. Yes, the enemies do get a bit redundant, and the narrator doesn’t know when to shut his trap sometimes, but everything else hits its mark. The graphics are gorgeous and wondrous, killing enemies is a blast, and gaining experience is addicting. One play through lasts about 8 hours, but the game screams for a second run with its many secrets and hidden areas. The pricing is a bit steep for a 2D action title (20 bucks on steam), but if you have the dough, Trine is an adventure no PC gamer should miss.