Physics Games and Physics-Based Game Downloads

Trio of Heroes Use Physics to Fight Undead

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 by Matthew in Physics Games
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Rate this game! 42 votes, average: 4.02 out of 5)

Trine is a physics-based platformer/brawler from independent Finnish developers Frozenbyte (best known for their Shadowgrounds series). In Trine you instantly swap between three different characters, each with a unique means of manipulating your physical surroundings. The wizard levitates objects and creates blocks/planks, the thief fires a grappling hook, and the knight tosses objects about. The skill of playing Trine well is learning to choose the right character to deal with different situations.

Physical Interactions

The gameplay in Trine breaks down into two major activities: Physical platforming, where the goal is to get from point A to point B, and brawling, where the goal is to defeat a number of enemies. Physical platforming is aided primarily by the wizard, who has the most direct control over physical objects. Many of the physical puzzle involve some kind of contraption–you jump onto a hanging platform and then use the wizard to move it forward, or you remove an object blocking a battering ram from swinging forward and breaking a wall. Sometimes simply creating and stacking boxes will get you up and over an obstacle.

Brawling in Trine is satisfying and well supported by amazing character animations. However, the fighting system isn’t very physical. I would have loved to see the physical platforming and brawling aspects intermingle more. You can kill enemies by throwing stuff at them, either with the knight or the wizard, but overall the enemies don’t interact much with the physics system (they just react to it). Much of their physicality actually stems directly from the animations; I suspect enemy interactions with solid-color bounding boxes would feel much less physical. By comparison, check out the well-integrated character/physics interactions in Hitlers Must Die!, where the characters really aren’t much more than bounding boxes to begin with.

Different Play Styles

One of the benefits of physics-based gameplay is the natural tendency for the game to support multiple play styles. Trine does this well, especially with multiple characters always available. The above video showcases this by having the same section traversed with different characters. Multiple solutions are always possible in any given choke point, depending on who you use. A player who prefers fast-paced movement will favor the thief and the grappling hook, while a more cautious player may try to stay on–or create–high ground with the wizard.

I enjoyed the sense of control I had over the game’s pacing. If I wanted to bang my head against the wall, trying to see if I could solve a puzzle in a particular way, I wasn’t hurried by the game itself. Or I could barge ahead with the thief, ignoring the level’s nooks and crannies (and the experience posts hidden within). However, Trine pulls the rug on this self-set pacing in its final level, with a very frustrating time pressure sequence. It’s like they completely ignored what made the preceding 4 hours so enjoyable and just wanted to prove they could give you something “hard” to play. Boo.

Trine Screenshot Screenshot of a Physics Game
(Trine Game Screenshots)

Production Values

Trine is a solid physics-based game. The physics themselves aren’t amazingly complex, and the possibility space of any one puzzle is more narrow than a straight physics puzzle game, but the overall experience more than makes up for it. Trine is a well-rounded blend of physics platforming and fighting. It’s also worth mentioning that Trine is a gorgeous game. I found myself continuing to play for the environments alone, just to see what was coming up next.

Download Trine Demo (470 MB, or download on Steam)

The full version of Trine is $29.99 and available on Steam. A PSN release is forthcoming. Keep an eye on the Trine homepage for more PS3 details!

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4 Responses to 'Trio of Heroes Use Physics to Fight Undead'

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  1. on August 2nd, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    While I very much enjoyed the demo, the price put me off actually buying it… I just don’t feel that it would be worth quite that much.

    If the price comes down by about $5-10 (as it almost certainly will in the inevitable Steam sale), I’ll be buying it immediately.

  2. Vitaly said,

    on August 3rd, 2009 at 2:26 am

    I played it a while and it is a nice game and with really pretty graphics.

    HOWEVER, the physics feel very unreal. It is especially annoying with the swings of the thief, it is very exact (the rope is ALWAYS a straight line) and it feels more like Mario physics than real-world physics.

    Also, I found the voice acting/story part boring and silly. I can’t decide if it supposed to be funny or dramatic. Whatever it tries, however, it is neither.

    All in all, it is a nice to see unique physics based game, I just wish it was better.

  3. aalku said,

    on August 4th, 2009 at 3:36 am

    It’s not a simulator, it’s a game and its really cool, just a bit expensive. I think a fair price would be $20.

  4. DarkJee said,

    on August 5th, 2009 at 5:54 am

    I bought it want its really cool, yes its maybe a little expensive but I dont regret my bought. I finished the game twice, one alone and one with my friend. And now I’ll stop to play it for a moment and I know in a few months I will start to play it again!

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