|Dev: BlueGiant Interactive|
|Pub: BlueGiant Interactive|
|Release: September 14, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Becky Cunningham
A tryst is a meeting between lovers, and Tryst is certainly not a bad name for a game that hopes to develop a stronger relationship between gamers and the real-time strategy (RTS) genre. Of course, before lovers can get together for any kind of tryst, they need to have given each other the proper first impression needed to develop chemistry. Tryst fails to deliver that first impression, feeling a lot more like a failed blind date than a sexy assignation.
Players starting out in Tryst are simply plopped into the world with no direction. Very basic RTS functions, such as lassoing units to select them and right-clicking to attack enemies, are present. Performing other actions, such as placing units into groups, though, aren't obvious. While some game functions are taught via in-game instruction, other basic functions must be learned by watching tutorial videos from the help menu. The experience of learning Tryst is rather piecemeal and can be frustrating to players who know what to do but have to delve through instructional videos in order to figure out how to do it. The tutorial videos are fairly brief, at least, but the subjects they cover are incomplete. For instance, there's a video about building Zali (the alien faction) bases, but not one about building human bases.
Even once the player has a handle on how the game works, it suffers from usability issues. Many pieces of basic PC game functionality, such as getting quick information by hovering the mouse over units or pressing ESC to get to the main menu, are missing (the ESC button issue in particular drove me nuts). There's no keyboard or command customization, and simple things that look like they should be possible, like using the mouse to group units together from the team panel, simply aren't. It's a strangely archaic experience that hampers the player, especially considering the fast pace at which Tryst's battles operate.
Adding to the feeling of having traveled back in time to 2003 is the fact that the graphic settings don't auto-detect, and default to low quality at 1024x768. Even after setting them properly for a modern rig, they're not terribly inspiring. The worst part of the visuals is that the units look somewhat muddy, and the human units are particularly difficult to visually distinguish from each other. This can cause problems during hectic moments in the game. Additionally, the maps for the single-player campaign suffer from heavy fogging that can make the available paths difficult to find, even though those paths are generally quite linear.
Worse than the graphic design is Tryst's sound design. The music is forgettable, and the sound effects lack oomph. The game lacks the kind of solid audio cues that help the player keep track of what's going on in better-designed RTS titles. These issues pale in comparison to the voice acting, though, which is some of the worst I've heard in years. The actors sound like they were all hired from Sergeant Slappy's House of Cut-Rate Fake Accents, causing even the most serious scene to inspire snickers. The poorly-articulated quips that the units shout out every time an order is issued will cause gamers to reach for the mute button.