Trine is a fantastical side-scrolling puzzle platform game. The extent of my experience with this type of game was watching my best friend play Donkey Kong when I was five and trying to catch up on decades of games in a brief few months. Whilst the rest of the world seem a little in two minds about the resurrection of old school platform games, I’m eternally grateful for it. Trine provided the perfect opportunity for me finally experience this type of game first hand, by playing it.

The story is a fairy tale that begins with Once upon a time, in a land far, far away and thankfully ends with And they all lived happily ever after. Fairy tales are charming, captivating and beautiful and this one is no exception. I’m not sure how many hours I spent playing over the last few weeks, but it’s quite a few and although there were a few moments of frustration, I was never stuck at any point for very long and progression was there, even when it was slow going. The soundtrack was perfect every step of the way. I quickly found myself logging into the game and leaving it open whilst I did other things just so that I could listen to the music. There definitely is something magical about mystical graphics, mysterious haunting notes that wove a story which took me deeper and deeper into a troubled magical kingdom.

The tale is that of three companions thrown together by fate and bound to pursue a magical quest. The first and my least favourite is the Knight. He favours food and ale over fighting, but comes in handy with a sword and shield. I struggled in-game particularly with large rolling, swinging and falling mines and that’s because I didn’t pay attention to my knight who could have shielded himself if I’d only given him the opportunity to do so. Instead, I jumped, grappled or levitated things to overcome those puzzles and lesson learned, use all the tools you have if you want to make your life easier. The mage is a mage who cannot create a fireball and desperately wishes that he could. He’s not much of a fighter but his levitation and conjuring skills are vital to overcoming certain puzzles and even more than that, he’s the comic relief that staves off frustration. Whenever I did get stuck for a while, I’d switch to the mage, make him jump ridiculously, which is the only way he can, and watching his robes waft like an old lady in a blue dress, well, mature man in a blue dress, made me laugh and happy to keep playing. The thief was by far my favourite. I’m a girl gamer and naturally prefer female characters because they feel more natural and comfortable to play, but I liked the thief for more reason than she was a girl. She had a bow which took some practice to master, but once I did, it was more versatile and potent than the knight’s melee combat skills with the added advantage of also being out of range and thus taking much less damage. I learned quickly that the skeleton army archers were slow and by the time they fired, they’d either be dead already or I could move out of the arrow’s range with ease and still not take any damage. The grappling was fun and useful, even though I never got the hang of grappling and then swinging up onto whatever surface the hook was attached to. I spent the vast majority of time playing my thief, Zoya and will definitely continue to do so.

Trine was the perfect Christmas present and I think will remain the gift that keeps on giving. Although I’ve finished it on normal difficulty, I missed quite a bit of the content and consequently play style, right off the bat. I struggled to find my feet, but now that I’m starting to, I know I will go back again and again to find artifacts in chests, emancipate little green experience bottles for upgrades and make it harder once I start to master the play style better. And then there’s also the co-op option, which gives it a whole new flavour and appeal. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of play time, even the dozens of hours I spent not playing and just listening to the music and doing what I have the annoying tendency to do, i.e. using a game as a glorified screensaver. The opening cinematics grabbed my attention and I’m not sure it will ever really let it go.