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Review: TriJinx

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes

Summary of major issues
Since this is a game about exploring a lost pyramid, it naturally follows that there is a curse upon all who enter.

Screenshots


Beware of falling triangles


Sometimes you need to find a shape to clear a level


One of the comics telling the story

General Information

Genre:PuzzleAge Rating:Children (Ages 6+)
License:CommercialQuality Rating:Average
Played on:Martha
Available from: Steam
Save System:Your progress is saved after each level, but if you need to pause the game for a moment, you can do this by pressing ESC.

Game Overview

TriJinx is one of those games that clearly tried to be something interesting, but still came up short. The heart of the game is a Tetris-like "well" where the player works to clear groups of triangles before they fill up and block new tiles from dropping into the game area. Instead of switching neighboring tiles or controlling where they fall, you rotate the entire board and gravity moves the pieces into their new positions. Once you're arrainged them in groups of three or more, you can clear them just by clicking on the group. The tiles you clear are gathered into urns resting above the play area, provided the pieces were the same color as the urn you're trying to fill. Filling up all of the urns ends the level, and our heroine moves on to the next new with its new batch of urns. Later on, the rules are tweaked to make the game increasingly difficult. New piece types are introduced, and pieces might even vary in size.

Overall, it's a decent idea and could make a great game, but there are a few catches. The first and perhaps most glaring issue is that you can only add tiles to the leftmost urn. This means you'll be wasting time trying to clear tiles while you're waiting for more of that color to appear. There is also a time limit in each level, and often it seems like it's just a few second short of the amount of time you need.

The biggest weakness is that there was an attempt to give the game a story. Pure puzzle games are a dime a dozen, and most of the best ones are either very cheap or completely free, so mixing an enticing narrative into the game's structure is a good way to keep the player interested and make a puzzle game stand out. Unfortunately, the story here appears to have been an afterthought at best. Aside from feeling extremely generic, what lines are present are flat and uninspired. All of the dialogue is fully voiced, and while that's often a good thing, the voice actors clearly didn't care about the story either.

In the end this isn't a bad game, but there isn't much to keep someone's interest once they start hitting the harder levels.

Pros

Unique mix of game mechanics
Since the gameplay involves clearing groups of tiles that match, TriJinx is sometimes classified as a Match 3 game. However, it certainly doesn't follow the typical Match 3 formula, so the best you can do would be to call it a Puzzle game and refrain from breaking it down further.


Alternate game modes
In addition to the adventure, there's also an endless game that focuses on getting a high score and a somewhat challenging puzzle variation. During the adventure, you'll encounter both styles of gameplay, so these alternate modes allow you to play the game on your own terms.


Cons

Somewhat random difficulty curve
For the most part, the farther you are along your adventure, the more difficult things get. This is the concept anyway; many of the levels are exceptions to this rule, being much harder or easier than they should've been. This creates more of a series of hills and valleys than a proper upwards curve, and the sudden spikes in difficulty may well discourage people from continuing.


Lackluster story
Puzzle games these days need to either have excellent gameplay or a story that keeps the player wanting more. Otherwise, there's just not enough to keep the player interested, and they'll move on to other games. If it wasn't for the more annoying mechanics (like the timer) then the gameplay might have been enough to keep things fun, but the poor execution of the story portions just drags everything down with it.


Concerns and Issues

Egyptian gods
It's not real surprising to see the members of the Egyptian pantheon depicted in a game about exploring an ancient Egyptian pyramid. Each chamber features a pair of statutes depicting one of their gods standing by the sides of the playing area. As you clear levels, their stone figures slowly come to life. Once the statues are fully animated, they serve only to open the path forward, which makes one wonder why you needed to bring them to life in the first place.


Triclops' Curse
It wouldn't be a proper Egyptian tomb without a curse. The Tomb of Triclops turns any would-be explorers to stone -- unless they are the protagonist or her cat, as neither of them are affected by this deadly curse. Nor is there any explanation as to why they are unaffected.


Deformity as grounds for disowning family
As it turns out, Triclops gained their name because of a birth defect that resulted in them having an unusual number of eyes. Originally, they would have been next in line to be Pharaoh instead of King Tut, but they were rejected because of this deformity.