#EGX2014 Alpha Preview: Tri
What happens when you mix the free-flowing platforming of Minecraft and the complex puzzle mechanics of Portal? It turns out that you get a colourful, fox-filled puzzle platformer and, from what has been revealed so far, it seems to be ticking all the right boxes. Ladies, gentlemen and foxes; this is Tri.
While there isn’t a lot of back-story to recite at the beginning of the Tri Alpha, it’s clear from that foxes are depicted in a certain way with some of them being referred to as “gods”. The opening level sees you being greeted by a stranger who offers helpful advice and talks you through the opening levels. Aside from this stranger assisting you, he also provides the narration for the overarching story and lore which allows players to feel familiar in the world and grow accustomed to this character in no time at all. In addition to the welcoming lore and helpful hints from your associate, the world seems to welcome you with a delightful art style.
The setting of Tri seems to take place in a stereotypical Asian landscape with the style of the buildings and the overall feel of the environment. As unique as the environment is, the colours are unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a game before. A pastille infusion of red and orange seem to make the environment very memorable with its warm colours and they make everything seem inviting, rather than daunting. The game is played with first-person visuals and is controlled using ‘W, A, S & D’ as well as using the mouse to look around. The controls allow for most people to be able to play Tri. Whether this changes later in the game remains to be seen, but in the opening levels, the surrounding areas provide plenty of smiles… that is of course until you have to start thinking outside of the box in regards to the puzzles.
Of the opening levels of the Alpha, there wasn’t a huge challenge as Tri encourages you to learn the mechanics gradually before ramping up the difficulty when it introduces the key feature of the game; triangles. The protagonist eventually comes across an object which allows the player to draw triangles to help to bridge the gap between ledges and eventually up to the ceilings of very tall buildings. Even though the ability to use the triangles is simple to begin with, they soon become a necessity as the protagonist looks to overcome difficult obstacles and delve further into these intriguing and beautiful environments.
Once you get past the key mechanics of the game, the main aim of Tri is to collect three red fox statues, place them on platforms and enter a central bright aura to complete the level once you have all three in place. While this is the main aim of each level, there are also a number of gold idols to collect, which doesn’t add a huge bearing to the outcome of the level, but there will be completionist’s who will adore the attention to the additional statues and consistently trying to beat their own times. Each level is timed and, although the function wasn’t evident from the Alpha build, it seems as though Tri would benefit greatly from a leaderboard system. Once I had worked out how to do a level, I would happily replay it to improve my time and also attempt to grab all ten or more idols.
While there are still several things which could change in the build-up to the release of Tri, the Alpha is very impressive. The art style, simple gameplay and challenging environmental puzzles combine well to make Tri a memorable experience. With only a small portion of the game being able to be played at the minute, it’ll be interesting to see where Rat King Entertainment goes from here. Aside from a busy time of the year where many AAA titles are being released, Tri seems to offer something different and could be a sleeper hit.
Tri will be released via Steam on October 8th.