Published on October 9th, 2014 | by Ari Nellen2
Ari Reviews Tri the Game – An FPS Puzzler
TRI is a puzzle FPS game for PC/Mac and Linux, which involves the player being given the three powers of the ‘TRI’ which allows you to create a flat triangle platform between three spots on terrain (including other triangles). These platforms are yellow if they’re not too steep for the player to walk or climb on, and red if they’re too steep. The first ‘power up’ is the ability to then stick to these triangles, which changes your plane of reference allowing you to walk on triangles that were originally to steep. The final power of the TRI is the ability to bounce light to power (or de-power) things in game.
I’m not saying that TRI isn’t without it’s issues, but it’s a really fun first person puzzler. TRI’s major flaw is not of it’s own making, but rather that other FPS puzzlers, like Antichamber and Portal, are such standout games. And, as is the case with Portal and Antichamber, they have more much more fluid puzzle mechanics. So it’s not that the tasks that TRI sets you aren’t fit for the tools they give, but rather that, like all games where you can create terrain, you can create little traps for yourself.
In a puzzle where I had to use two walls to get up to a platform (which involves going upside down) I managed to fall in between the walls and a triangle I’d made. This would be fine, since you can delete triangles, except you can’t delete triangles which were created on other triangles, and to delete a triangle you have to be able to see it to click on it. The triangle I had made had obscured the original triangle and the angle was such that I couldn’t climb up it. I had effectively trapped myself. Also, sometimes you will want to return to a path (usually for unlockables) but, since the most efficient way of creating a triangle path is chaining them, you can sometimes block your path entirely.
TRI gets around this by making the levels relatively short and giving you a quick save function. However replaying a level because you get stuck is really tedious, and, while the annoyance is short lived, it could be removed giving you the power to delete entire chains.
The puzzles are immersive though, I hardly noticed the time pass, however they don’t make you feel as clever as other puzzlers in it’s league. These puzzlers often have a ‘eureka’ moment, where the player figures out new way to manipulate the game laws or tools. In TRI the puzzles are, in some sense too simple, in part because the tools are so simple. And this means the game isn’t as satisfying as others fps puzzlers. But the game is still addictive and that’s in part because you’re not bogged down with all the puzzle options. In some ways TRI’s simplicity is it’s strength.
The art style is gorgeous and simple, which compliments these simple puzzles. Though at times the environments is so large that traversing it is a slog. Also the soundtrack gets repetitive since the same tracks are used on multiple levels.
Originally I was compulsive about collecting the in game special items which unlock ‘extras’. But there are so many pickups and you need to amass a lot to unlock these titbits. It just doesn’t seem worth it, though I can see for some players it might give the game replayability.
TRI is an excellent addition to the FPS puzzle genre and at around $15 it’s a bargain, even if the game is not as captivating as Portal or Antichamber. But it’s to be expected that as the genre grows more games will be less ground breaking. TRI has fun puzzles and an immersive environment, though I wished they amped up the difficulty, removed the huge spaces and revitalised soundtrack, and stopped the player trapping themselves.
Note, the version I played was beta and wasn’t working on Intel graphics cards, so it wasn’t working on my Macbook Pro. This may be fixed in the release version but make sure to check before you buy!
Rat King dropped us a line to correct the above (thanks guys!):
Just wanting to let you know that the game may work on Intel cards – but as Intel cards are usually integrated, they have less power to run TRI as it is intended, so we just don’t support them when people ask because of performance problems. Still, they can display TRI.