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TriLinea ReAct #XBLIG VVG IndieVerse Review

VVG IndieVerse Review

“TriLinea ReAct”

By: Mr. Deeke

On this installment of VVG IndieVerse Reviews we’ll be taking a look at a fantastic Xbox Indie puzzler called TriLinea ReAct by Tendi Games. This title is focused on quick wits, speedy reflexes, and has dynamics that are very similar to the retro game Tetris in that players must match the same color of blocks together to earn points.

There are no tetrominoes, but there are vertical and horizontal pieces, each with a different array of colors to match–three of a kind makes a match in this highly enjoyable Indie brain teaser.

TriLinea ReAct 400 MSP

As gamers, we’re all pretty much familiar with Tetris and the way it impacted video game culture throughout history–the game is still immensely popular and wide-played all over the world. TriLinea ReAct is a lightning-fast version that has multiple challenging game modes, a vast amount of stages and worlds, rich and impressive full 3-D graphics, and best yet it has online multiplayer so you can best your friends in a battle of wits and skill.

TriLinea ReAct

  • Developer – TendiGames
  • Genre – Puzzle & Trivia
  • XBL Marketplace URLTriLinea ReAct
  • Release Date – 3/4/2011
  • Try or Buy?Try Before You Buy
  • Price – 400 MSP
  • Rating – 4/5

“Just another puzzle game? WRO-ONG! TriLinea ReAct is an new type of game that could easily be described as a Fighting Puzzle game. Real time fast-paced battles on a shared board that will reinvent the old and good match-3 formula. Build your strategies, cast spells, summon specials and prove no one will ever be able to overcome your skills. So now, stop reading and give it a try!”

–Xbox Live Marketplace Description

I. Game Mechanics

This particular Xbox Live Indie Game was indeed surprising–after playing the demo I was intrigued–the puzzles in this game are extremely addictive, and as a moderate puzzle-fan, that’s saying quite a bit. TriLinea pits players against time and their own wits, putting emphasis on both dexterity and hand-eye coordination as well as a fast-paced battle of wits.

Basically players must match three blocks together of the same matching color. Each chunk of blocks is either a vertical or horizontal piece (both of which can be changed, i.e. players can move a horizontal piece vertically and vice-versa), and is only composed of two pieces.

The game’s heads-up-display is quite dynamic, as it not only allows players to see the next upcoming piece, but also allows players to swap a piece out from their storage bank by pressing LT–there can only be a single piece in this bank, however, so players must be cautious. This allows gamers the chance to plan ahead and strategize, and in the later rounds it becomes an imperative function. Players can also move blocks clockwise with RT and couter-clockwise with LT, and this revolving also can set up blocks both horizontally and vertically.

Careful gamers are rewarded for planning ahead and making extra matches, especially making multiple matches that build a combo multiplier for higher scores. The title is admittedly a bit hard to get used to, but once players are well adjusted to the speed and controls of the game–the controls being quite well-designed and are very fluid in gameplay–gamers can truly enjoy the puzzler as it was meant to be played.

Image from TriLinea ReAct

At times players will be pitted against an AI, or another player (as in online Xbox Live multiplayer) and will have to defeat them by getting a higher score. These are the real challenging bouts since more often than not the AI is quite good. TriLinea gets a bit difficult at this time as two players share the entire board and can earn points off of each other’s potential matches. For example, if player 1 places a block in a row, player 2 can use those pieces to score a three-of-a-kind same-color match and earn points.

TriLinea ReAct’s 1v1 competitive play is based on a sort of RPG-like system where each player has health, and mana. Players earn mana by creating matches, which subsequently “explode” to hurt the other player. The damage dealt and received during gameplay is dependent on the type (whether its a special match, etc.) or the quantity (3 or more same-colored blocks) of the matches–the same with the mana gained.

Also, like Tetris, if the “board” can fill up with blocks–however that doesn’t end the game, the board merely resets and restarts all the way over, providing a clean slate for players to fill up once again.

Mana is used to cast “spells”, each of which having a different and unique effect on the game itself. Below are a list of some of the Spells that are found in TriLinea ReAct:

  • Dispel – Cleanses status effects like Blind, Confuse, and Restrain.
  • Restrain – Literally restrains the player from placing any pieces for a period of time.
  • Confuse – Creates the illusion that colors aren’t what they seem, making players make mistakes in gameplay.
  • Shield – Grants players extra time to place objects as well as protecting them from certain offensive spells.
  • Magnet – Uses gravity to explode pieces when the board is more full.

II. Weapons/Items

Since there are no weapons in this title, I’ll be focusing on some of the different types of Special Blocks that are activated simply by destroying them in TriLinea ReAct:

  • Sun – Destroy the special sun block to activate and control the sun beam to cause damage.
  • Meteor – Causes damage based on the amount of pieces surrounding it.
  • Star – Recovers a players Life gradually for 10 seconds.
  • Moon – Greatly reduces enemy’s speed.

These special blocks appear randomly on the board and can be activated by either player by matching a set of three or more same-colored tiles.

Image from TriLinea ReAct

III. Unique Features

There are literally dozens of challenges in this title that span across an incredible six worlds–each world with it’s own unique 3-D theme. As players progress through these challenges the requirements get harder and harder and are more randomized, Sometimes the challenges can range from getting a certain score to beating the round in a certain amount of time; each challenge is different from the last, and they are designed to help players get better at the game.

With four game modes–Quick Match (fight AI in a Duel or a Mission), Challenge (acts as a practice mode for players to improve their skilles), Score Attack (replayable matches that players try to earn the highest score possible in multiple modes), and Time Attack (players are timed and must get the highest score possible in a certain period). Each game mode has a myriad of different rules and objectives making each of them unique.

TriLinea also has a huge library of Awards for players to earn, each of which are unlocked by various means–usually completing the assortment of challenges and gametypes is the key to these Awards. There are 20 challenging Awards in all, and each inspire players to play more and more as an incentive for total completion.

The dynamic mana and health system isn’t seen often in puzzlers, especially Xbox Indie puzzlers–another feature that makes TriLinea that much more fun and unique. There are many spells for players to utilize during matches, and a nearly infinite number of ways for gamers to strategize during this fast-paced puzzle game.

Image from TriLinea ReAct

IV. Critique

The Good

It’s Addicting! TriLinea is very addicting and is infinitely replayable since each match can be different each time you play it. This allows players to enjoy a varied experience with each match, and offers many game modes to enjoy either against a friend in online Live multiplayer or in solo single-player. Gamers are pushed to the brink of their abilities in this unique puzzler, and each re-play allows for players to earn more experience and skill in the game itself.

It’s Huge! This expansive puzzle game offers a massive amount of challenges, each of which have their own required tasks and objectives. There are multiple worlds that each have their own set of challenges and themes providing both a fun and varied experience each time.

The Graphics. For an Xbox Live Indie Game, TriLinea’s graphics are incredible–with full 3-D environments and impressive shading as well as in-depth renders provide for immersive gameplay. Players feel as if they’re in another world while playing the game, and even the blocks and special effects are fully three-dimensional.

Real-Life Applications. This title is a great way for players to improve their hand-eye coordination and motor reflexes, not to mention having to think on your feet and correctly improvise in mere seconds. TriLinea can not only be fun, but can improve reflexes and help people who want to train their motor skills, especially their hand dexterity, and also can improve cognitive function. In short, its a puzzler that is a great way for kids to not only enjoy a game but to help improve their intelligence and scholastic ability.

It’s Unique & Original! I haven’t come across many Xbox Indies that share the same dynamics with other puzzle games, but also have their own completely original aspects that set them apart from other titles. TriLinea is a game that has familiar elements that players will recognize as well as its very own unique play-style that is entirely new and fun, distinguishing it from all the other puzzle games on the market today.

The Bad

It’s a bit complicated. Although TriLinea has a helpful Hints section and a Tutorial, the game itself can be complicated and over-convoluted. This is a turn-off to some players as most gamers want a quick and easy to learn puzzle game to enjoy rather than a title with a lot of different rules and gametypes.

It Takes Practice.  Unlike some Indie titles which are very straigthforward and easy to be skillful at, TriLinea ReAct is a game that players must practice in. It’s well worth the time you put in, however some players may not like having to practice to get good at the game.

Image from TriLinea ReAct

V. Wrap-Up

All in all, TriLinea ReAct by TendiGames is a fantastic puzzler that sports full 3-D graphics, an up-beat and enhanced soundtrack, and even integrated Xbox Live functionality so gamers can play their friends or random players in one-on-one online matches. It’s one of the best puzzle games you can find on the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace, and to me it’s a great game to be included in the XBLA titles as well.

Although it has the somewhat steep price tag of 400 MSP, I believe its more than worth it to serious puzzle fans since the game itself is huge and offers hours upon hours of gameplay, expansive challenges and objectives, a smattering of different worlds and even a slew of Awards to unlock.

I highly recommend this title to fans of puzzle games, especially gamers who want a huge puzzler to keep them occupied for hours and hours–this is also a perfect fit for the casual gamer who enjoys a fast-paced game that requires both focus and thought to beat.

For more information on TriLinea ReAct and the studio that developed it, visit TendiGames’ website.


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