This game was reviewed on the PC.
Colonization of the newly-discovered planet Ishtonia proceeded rapidly for the purpose of mining a rare and precious fuel source known as Lohum. However, it’s apparent that the mining companies didn’t give much thought to the indigenous life that may exist. Shortly after expanding colonization efforts, the Alliance encountered the natives, and a tentative peace agreement was brokered to allow the Alliance to continue mining operations on the Eastern continent of Ishtonia. Before long, the Zali decided that it was time to end the truce.
The Alliance now finds itself cut off from Earth and fighting for their lives against the Zali. You, as Oliver Petrovich, take the mantle of President of the Alliance after your father is killed in battle. Leading the charge in the fight and building partnerships with rebel human forces to face an overwhelming enemy, you certainly have your work cut out for you on BlueGiant Interactive’s Tryst.
BlueGiant Interactive tries their hand at crafting an RTS that feels very much akin to the original StarCraft. However, like Oliver Petrovich, they have some tall obstacles to overcome to achieve greatness. So, does this indie company from out of India have what it takes? Let’s take a look.
When you first fire up the campaign, you’ll find Tryst to be a very familiar setting. Here, you play as the human race, leveraging your basic building sets of barracks, storage facilities and simple units to slowly work your way up the tech tree to the more advanced battle units and buildings. Brief tutorials will pop up as you encounter new objectives or activities to help you get acclimated to Tryst; however, players who are familiar with StarCraft will notice some differences almost immediately.
One of the most prevalent differences between StarCraft and Tryst is seen when collecting resources. Instead of using up personnel resources to create gathering units, in Tryst various points containing ore and energy reserves are available to capture around the map. These points can be contested by your opponents as well, which can greatly shift the dynamic of the game by making it more competitive. Heavily defended resource points give you a rapidly growing wealth of materials to stockpile as well as the means to research your technology tree quickly; however, it is at the cost of using units to defend these locations—which means you have a smaller offensive force to work with. Conversely, capturing only a few resource points or leaving them undefended frees up your forces to attack, but also leaves you vulnerable to an enemy that has more reserves to build a technologically advanced opposition to contend with.
Another key difference with Tryst is in the multiplayer game when playing as the Zali, building facilities and upgrading units. Creating base units is near instantaneous as opposed to waiting for them to be constructed like with the Humans. Instead of just building a more advanced unit, you must merge multiple base units to create these more powerful beings. For example, your Morphers (basic infantry units) can be combined to create more powerful fighting classes called Assassins; basic ships called Exhausts can be combined to create more powerful ships called Sirens. You’ll also find that the Zali command center needs to build up energy to create units on top of the energy and ore resources that need to be captured. It’s likely that this is done in order to limit how quickly you can rush an opponent.
Aside from the single-player campaign, Tryst also sports multiplayer as well as a Skirmish mode that allow gamers to get acclimated to playing against multiple AIs before jumping into the fray against human opponents. Up to eight players can join in a game in a 4v4 matchup, and the action can get quite intense. Due to the limited number of resource points on a map, the game allows a team to steal the resources on a captured point. These resource points quickly become hotly contested between the two sides, and you’ll find that most of the action takes place in and around these areas in a massive power struggle. A well-coordinated team will utilize a good portion of their armies to defend these points, while allowing another teammate to quietly build their arsenal to sneak in and take down the opposing enemy bases one by one.
BlueGiant manages to create a wide variety of creative environments to play on, which prevents the game from getting too bland. Units on the ground are widely diverse as well, and a setting in the graphical options allows you to enable toon-shading to give Tryst a little more pizazz; however, the game does take a bit of a performance hit when this is enabled. Another interesting thing to note is that it’s relatively easy to get your players trapped in corners by building around them. This happens especially with engineers if you’re trying to pack a bunch of buildings into a tight area. The unfortunate result is a trapped resource that you can’t do anything with except to hope and pray that the poor soul encounters a quick and painless death in the next rush. Another issue in the game is with the energy pickups left behind by fallen soldiers. According to the tips in the Help menus, you’re supposed to be able to walk over them to collect the items for your own stockpiles; sadly this isn’t the case, as I’ve never seen this happen. After a while, my field just became littered with these leftovers with no ability to pick them up whatsoever.
While Tryst features some solid gameplay at its core, the game unravels a bit in terms of the story, which feels a bit loose in its writing. Aside from some very brief videos to fill the player in on the current state of affairs and a bit of background on the game, there are some gaps. Moreover, the often overly-obvious moral lessons about cultural differences can become a bit vexatious, especially with the bland dialogue that’s portrayed by a mishmash of sub-par voice acting with only a couple of the actors giving commendable performances. There are some amusing, light-hearted moments in the game’s dialogue that make the missions more enjoyable, but more often than not you’ll wish the characters would just shut up and get back to the killing.
The music at least is well-composed, and fits with the overall theme of the game. During moments of peace, the movements are fantastical and serene, with the pace quickening during more fast-paced moments of action. Many of the pieces draw on the same sci-fi themes of other games such as Mass Effect, using a mix of horns and subtle violins over an electronic beat to give the game an otherworldly air.
For someone who’s tired of playing Wings of Liberty and is waiting for the next StarCraft II installment, Tryst might be a good option to jump in to. The multiplayer facet of the game feels very familiar as an RTS, with some changes in the gameplay that really add to the experience and make it feel like less of an SC knock-off. The single-player can be entertaining as well, although even a seasoned player will notice some irregular spikes in difficulty that make it occasionally frustrating. Tryst could have used a little more spit and polish before its release, but as a sophomore effort from BlueGiant, it shows that the company has a lot of potential in the RTS space.
Tryst receives a 3.75/5.0.
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