BlueGiant’s previous game, Apox, took a new approach to the RTS, incorporating elements from FPS games into their title. Although its overall polish let the game down, it showed that BlueGiant Interactive were willing to take risks to carve out theri own niche in the market, and they have brought this enthusiasm across to Tryst.
This time BlueGiant Interactive have created a game which, while primarily a Real-Time Strategy title, introduces small elements of the RPG genre into the blend.
These RPG skill trees, allow for a wide level of customisation for all your units, from the lowly Merc to the devastating Garuda Siege Airship.
Playing through the singleplayer campaign, gives you an introduction to the skills you will need to battle other players successfully in the competitive multiplayer environment, which is the true core of the game. Look on this fact as you will, but those that prefer playing these sort of games solo, will find very little to enjoy here.
Toting up at around three to four hours long, the campaign is obviously aimed at getting newcomers to the genre familiar with the basic commands and tactics required to participate in the online games at a competent level. Those people like myself, with even a basic level of experience with RTS games, can blow through the story in under two hours. That’s not to say there is no enjoyment to be gained in the singleplayer experience, as the story and strategy involved was an interesting introduction to the new concepts they have brought to the genre.
You play as Oliver Petrovich, son of Ivan Petrovich, the current Chief Administrative Officer of Rhyn Tech and President of Ishtonia in the year 2900. After a century of Ishtonia harvesting the rare compound “Lohum”, which can be altered to form any carbon compound conceivable, and has served to return Earth from the brink of a fuel dependent economic disaster, the Ishtonian forces are now on the cusp of war with the robotic Zali race.It seems that the Zali too have aspirations to utilise the material, and see the incumbent humans as a obstacle to that goal.
Taking control of the Ishtonian army in the wake of the initial Zali attack, it is your role to regroup with your father’s Generals and mount a counter offensive against the Zali forces intent on taking the planet for themselves.
Gameplay in both modes is made up of one primary objective: destroy your enemy before they destroy you. To that end, you have a wide variety of units and tactics available which allow you to take your enemy out through subterfuge, strategy or sheer brute force. That said, the mechanics of the races – humans or the Zali - are built to cater to both the complete novice and the experienced player alike.
Choosing the humans is best for the beginner as it has the standard construction and unit methodology that has been honed to perfection over the years in countless other titles. Utilising barracks, bunkers, airports and vehicle depots to create the units you will require to win your battles.
The Zali on the other hand, is something completely unique, and is quite obviously the more complicated race to play. Having only two primary units, playing as the Zali requires a more strategic approach.
The Zali units consist of the Morpher, which is required to build both the structures and the elite units for your race, and the Harvester which can reconstitute materials dropped on the battlefield to create new Morphers.
As the name implies, by giving the Morpher commands, you can make them transmute into defensive turrets, Spirit Catchers (which increase your population level), or by using them in conjunction with a temple or a shrine can constitute the basic blocks of the more complex Striker, Guardian or Listener units.
Apart from the standard resource nodes, maps in Tryst feature environmental hazards that will either impede or help the player, so knowing your environment can allow you to play more strategically. Some secondary ore refineries are built on unstable Lava beds, or in the middle of aggressive flora and fauna, so taking these nodes to increase your resource rates is sometimes a risk in itself, but if you do succeed you can be safe in the knowledge that your enemy would have to overcome the same obstacles to steal it from you.
In the multiplayer modes of 2V2, 3V3 or 4V4, you can also share resources between your allies, and allies can also share your power or ore nodes to increase their own resource rates. On this note, you can also steal resource nodes from your opponents, reducing their research and development speeds.
Finally, BlueGiant introduce what constitutes a basic skill development tree into the Mix. As your base develops, you unlock upgrades to each of your units, which can be applied using the A.R.M, or Augmentation Research Mechanism, which allows you to customise your character with a perk system that could either boost a units existing strengths, or reduce its deficits. For example, the first level of Merc skills can either increase their damage, give a bonus to their armour, or upgrade their rate of fire. With each unit having three levels of skills to choose from this allows you to customise your army to your own play style.
Multiplayer games are fast and brutal affairs, requiring you to strategise, build and gather, while under the constant threat of attack. A competent player can, within a few minutes of starting a match, have enough basic units to overrun your defences and end your game before you had even realised it had begun.
This may seem like something that would put players off, but with this constant threat comes the greatest reward. I have not felt quite as exhilarated playing any other game recently as I have playing a Tryst Multiplayer game, where I have come back from near annihilation to rebuild and utterly overpower an opponent who had, only ten minutes before, been bombarding my headquarters with a large group of assault troops.
These quick-fire skirmishes happen consistently from out of the blocks, and your ability to resist a more powerful force, while simultaneously researching that game winning construction will be pushed greatly by this game.
My first impressions of this new property from BlueGiants Interactive have carried through from the Multiplayer preview code, to the full released game. Tryst still has a few minor bugs, and graphically it appears dated, looking like it could have been released alongside the original Starcarft rather than shortly after its sequel. But with that aside, behind the old school veneer, BlueGiant have created a robust, powerful and ultimately enjoyable RTS that has an AI that will punish you for your mistakes, but a learning curve and combat system that will allow you to recover from them.
If you are a fan of RTS or Action RTS games, and have been looking for something new to get your teeth into, this game could be the choice for you.
MLG Rating: 8/10 Platform: PC Release Date: 14/09/2012
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Tryst by the promoter for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of two weeks on the PC. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.