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By Bobfish28-04-2014
Spellbound (editor)

The Defence

Rat King Entertainment
Rat King Entertainment
Adventure, Puzzle
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core i5 2.0 GHz
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce GTX
AMD equivalent
64 MB
600 MB

Quirky puzzle games are in something of an underground renaissance at the moment. They’re not exactly dominating the market, or even making much of a splash, to be honest, but they’re around and making their presence known at the edges of our awareness. They’re presenting themselves to the attentions of those who are in the know, so to speak. And TRI...well, whilst it can be said that TRI falls neatly into that category, it also doesn’t...sort of. It’s difficult to pin down, really.

On the one hand, it crafts a beautifully artistic, deep and rich tapestry (almost literally) of a tale about a playful fox God. You’ll see this god-fox repeatedly, just out of reach, taunting you, as you move through the game, ostensibly in a quest to find and rescue him. You embark on this quest without the game giving you too much detail as to precisely why this God is so important. I mean, aside from the fact that, y’know, he’s a God and all. And he’s gone missing. Although, you can see him...yeah, you see what I mean? It’s odd, and it does a great job of pulling you in, leaving you unsure exactly what the freak is going on.

On the other hand, a lot of the dialogue is filled with some (often cringe worthy) jokes and silly observations that make the devs seem like a bunch of three year olds; parroting things they heard their parents saying when they were supposed to be asleep, without any idea what any of it means. Even the music is inconsistent, coming across as almost bi-polar in tone. Sometimes it’s wistful and introspective, then suddenly it turns into a carefree ditty. Often within the same piece of music, transitions are so sudden they almost, almost, break the flow.

And yet, somehow, it all flows together. Initially jarring, it all comes together as the game progresses; a subtle, extremely intelligent and thoughtfully crafted experience. The carefree nature of the fox is encapsulated in everything you see, hear and do. When considered in that context, the sudden change in tone makes a lot more sense. Like the real world namesake, the fox in the game is a playful spirit of childish abandon, leaving you to wonder if he truly is missing, or simply taking some time out to play and prance. The fact you see him so often certainly makes the latter seem more likely.

Idols to your god.

Idols to your god.

Visually speaking, the game is absolutely gorgeous. Everything is like a living, breathing watercolour painting. Whilst it’s a long, long way from being a graphical powerhouse, running smooth as butter even on shockingly weak hardware, the loving care with which everything has been crafted makes it an absolute joy to look at. So much so that even the most jaded graphics whore will be given pause for thought. Perhaps it’s not enough to make them reconsider their entire life, but it’s more than powerful enough to sneak into the cerebellum and refuse to leave.

The music and incidental sounds (the latter of which are very sparse) work beautifully, though the music does take a little getting used to at first. It made the game extremely difficult to pin down during the early stages, leaving me wondering exactly what I was doing, but knowing that I wanted more. Like the oft mentioned fox, standing just out of reach, spurring me on. There was something in the music that refused to allow me to stop, urging me ever forwards.

The aesthetically pleasing lights in the distance drew me in, too.

The aesthetically pleasing lights in the distance drew me in, too.

Gameplay, such as it is, is incredibly simple. It has the most basic of first person movement, with the addition of triangles you can draw, literally out of thin air, to reach new heights, as long as you have three surfaces within a reasonable distance to ‘pin’ the sides to. Existing triangles, whether created by you or placed in the level already, can even be used to support one or more side of later triangles. You are even granted the power to defy gravity whilst standing on triangles fairly early on. This gives you the ability to draw a line of triangles up a wall and reach...just about anything you want.

This freedom makes the puzzle part of the game… almost an afterthought. Again reinforcing the feeling that there is nothing more here than some childlike abandon. The purpose is not to challenge you, not even remotely. Rather, it gives you the tools to go and explore, have fun, and make your own way in the world. You experience the joy of simply roaming without purpose. Nay, to make your own purpose. Just like the elusive fox God you, ostensibly, are supposed to be trying to find.

Bonus points if you can figure out whatever's going on here.

Bonus points if you can figure out whatever's going on here.

In short, TRI is already an incredible game. It offers more enjoyment and creativity than many of the supposedly more advanced, big budget blockbusters. Apart from the hidden extras which are unlocked by finding hidden statues, everything is there already. More could be added, and will be added, I’m sure, but it honestly doesn’t need it. It will be a great game. No, it is a great game. Now all it needs is an official release window.

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