Trino – The Best Game You Won’t Remember in the Morning

>>Community Game Brief

The budding developers of Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center walk a fine line with Trino. On one side there’s the increasingly desirable original concept. On the other, the status quo of game design: fun. Trino offers both, but never in surplus. It’s barely fun, barely original, and yet succeeds by the skin of its teeth on this balance alone.

You may begin Trino wondering where your gun is. Despite an uncanny resemblance to scores of Geometry Wars-inspired twin-stick arena shooters, the right analog stick is never used here. Instead you’re armed with a lasso of sorts, wrangling as many enemies as you can in triangular traps. The goal is to capture them, collect their green orbs, and activate all the nodes surrounding each arena to escape.

It’s a unique and simple premise that begins to shine when new enemies are thrown into the mix. The first few levels are boring, but the challenge quickly ramps up. Later on you’re chased by faster enemies that dodge and counter your attempts to capture them.

Clean, stylish graphics mix with music that ebbs and flows to the action. Trino’s aesthetics are both practical and artfully stylized. Like the gameplay, it’s never truly mind-blowing, but it’s certainly appealing.

Trino’s qualities are subtle. It’s one of the best community games available, but it earns that title as a jack-of-all-trades product. It’s absolutely worthy of your time and money, and yet it’s bound to go unnoticed. While blockbuster games stomp their way through the realms of mindless fun and indie darlings cut into the space of artful originality, Trino dabbles in both, barely leaving a footprint in the greater gaming landscape.

But it’ll do for now.

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