If you’re looking for an obscure indie game to sink your teeth into, look no further than Tri: of Friendship and Madness. The game was created by the extremely-unknown-but-potentially-awesome studio Rat King Entertainment, and you can buy it on Steam for a good price right now.
Tri treads the line between being unique, but also similar to other indie games, which makes for a very enjoyable experience where you can learn to understand the game concepts quickly, while finding yourself in a new and beautiful world.
There’s a lot about Tri: of Friendship and Madness that makes it an awesome game to play – beyond the cool fox statues and intriguing-looking characters, even. Here are five of my favourite Tri: of Friendship and Madness features.
5. The Movement
If I had to explain the feel of the movement in Tri: of Friendship and Madness, the first thought that comes to mind is, “Portal Parkour”. In other words, so weird it might just work.
The tutorial is wonderfully set up to let you explore the fascinating movement in this game: you jump far, bounce from place to place, create stepping stones for yourself to get from point A to point B, and make your way through sixteen or so puzzles, and feel really cool doing it.
There’s an interesting floating feeling to this game: it’s almost like you’re standing on the balls of your feet, pouncing from cloud to cloud. You feel very lithe, which is a very cool sensation. In a lot of games you find yourself weighed down by armour, or simply the gravity of the world. This isn’t quite a thing in Tri: of Friendship and Madness. You feel more like a ninja, which can really help you enjoy the game more if you’re not good at puzzles and take forever to figure out even the most simplistic ones, like I do.
The controls work very well with this play style, too. You feel like you just pulled off something truly unique whenever you get to where you need to be, but deep down you know that without pinpoint controls, the whole thing would have been a hugely unnecessary struggle.
This fits in very well with the overall style of the game, too.
4. The Style
It makes sense to feel like a ninja in this game, seeing how it seems to be some sort homage to Asian culture.
Tri: of Friendship and Madness features and abundance of foxes, which have a noticeable place in Japanese folklore. They’re in the lore, they come in statue form, and as characters.
There’s also a man that seems to be doing his very best impression of George Takei. Oh myyy…
The sounds are very crisp in Tri: of Friendship and Madness, as well. You can hear every footstep, the water lapping at the walls sends a chill down your spine, and if you walk away while someone is talking, their voice fades very gradually.
Everything in Tri: of Friendship and Madness is very … geometric, shall we say? Simple shapes seem to be a motif, from triangular leaves in cherry blossom trees to the distinctly-shaped pillars and even the fact that the game is called TRI, you know, like a triangle. Okay, so triangles are ultimately the motif shape. It’s a lovely game to gaze upon, especially in combination with the red-orange-yellow colours they use throughout. The sharp colours combined with the simple shapes is very cool, and makes you just want to look at the world around you for hours. This may be a good thing, what with the puzzle element of Tri: of Friendship and Madness.
3. The Puzzles
Like I said, Tri: of Friendship and Madness is a lot like Portal: there’s some fun stuff with gravity, you create primary shapes to help you get from point A to point B, and there are brain-tickling puzzles.
Maybe this is just me, though, but I found Portal to be quite a bit kinder. Tri gives you a nice tutorial so that you’re slightly less confused about the bizarre-but-awesome world you find yourself in, and then it’s off to the mental races. You get hints every now and then, but if you’re bad at puzzle games like I am … have fun. I mean, I had to ask someone to finish Portal for me. And my times for finishing the levels in Tri: of Friendship and Madness were downright embarrassing.
If we’re just talking about the regular, puzzle-savvy masses, though, Tri: of Friendship and Madness isn’t actually that hard. It’s tough but forgiving: your brain has to be on for this game, but it’s not trying to make you cry. Plus, the above-mentioned precise controls are very well-utilised throughout the puzzles. The game embraces them and uses the rules of the world to the fullest, making you jump far, reconsider all you knew about gravity, create triangles, and collect ALL THE FOXES.
The most important thing about this game’s difficulty is that it adds some play time.
2. The Play Time
I really liked Tri: of Friendship and Madness, don’t get me wrong. But it was a relatively short game, and I think that worked very well. It’s very fun to learn all the lore of the world, seeing pretty pictures of foxes, talking to mask-wearing strangers, and solving puzzles, but there are a lot, a lot, A LOT of those levels, and it can get a little repetitive. It seems that the developers knew this, though, because they didn’t linger. It took me about seven or eight hours to play this game, but I have a feeling it would take the average gamer more like six hours. There was a lot of back-tracking, falling from of high-up places stupidly, forgetting how to do obvious things, and searching for things that were right in front of me.
I respect a game that I can play for a couple hours each day and still beat in a week – I work three jobs! I mean, I love playing games like Skyrim, where I run around literally endlessly, doing silly little tidbits, but I also really enjoy a beautiful game with a distinct point, beginning, middle, and end. Ultimately, finishing something is a very good feeling, and if you enjoyed yourself throughout, it’s worth it. Especially for a simple, relatively cheap (compared to paying seventy dollars for Grand Theft Auto Five) indie game.
There are foxes involved, after all. Nothing else really matters.
The #1. Tri: of Friendship and Madness feature - The Foxes
Most of the story that happens in this game is told through lore and backstory … backstory about FOXES! Foxes that are good, foxes that are evil, foxes that learn life lessons, and all that jazz. Through beautifully animated scenes, we learn about the gods/foxes of the world, and every now and then, we glimpse one with its held high in the actual game. There’s also plenty of time spent collecting statues of foxes.
The art is beautiful, and the foxes are adorable.
Including a creature like a fox is a huge selling point for a game – it was definitely done on purpose. The only way you can suck animal lovers in more easily is to include wolves instead.
The foxes go with the game’s colour scheme, even (or is it the other way around?). With red/orange/yellow tones, rouge-coated little foxes fit right in. There’s also one with a greyish/blue/green coat for contrast – and that’s also really pretty.
Basically, if you’re a fan of animals, if you’re a fan of dogs and foxes, and if you’re a fan of games like Okami, which make animals into beautiful art, you’ll like Tri: of Friendship and Madness very, very much indeed.