The Real Time Strategy Genre of games can trace its history back to the days of Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Age of Empires, and who can forget the age of Starcraft? But, apart from graphics, different eras, and alterations in the interface, there are few games that truly break out of the standard RTS mold. That is where the Indie developer BlueGiant Interactive steps in. BlueGiant Interactive’s Tryst was built with the intention to be a “competitive Real Time Strategy Game with fast-paced gameplay” that is custom tailored to the gamer. The big question we asked was, where they successful?
One may be reluctant to play Tryst when they realize that there are only two playable factions – Humans and Zali (aliens). However, Tryst is far more than just picking a single race and its corresponding strategy. Tryst’s signature gameplay spawns from its similarity to many modern day popular RPGs: the ability to customize the units ability to fight on the battlefield. This customization is also dynamic – therefore one can adjust their strategy to counter that of their opponent’s. If the opponent does not react accordingly, it could spell disaster.
Take for instance the Zali Pudge. By default, the Pudge is a cannon used to rain down poisonous green gas on the enemies. However, with a slight modification, it can be used as the ultimate attack mechanism to throw your units over the enemies defenses and wreak havoc on their base. In fact, each unit has a variety of different abilities and bonuses that can aid in the construction of your specific strategy. Zali are especially specialized due to the fact that they are only allowed to build three unit-specific buildings or building upgrades.
That said, the uniqueness of Tryst can also be a detriment. The emphases on customizing unit abilities appears to have compromised the number of different units available. For many RTS players who spam the same unit the entire game (you know who you are!), this is a non-issue. However, this can be a drawback for those players who favor a more diverse array of units all working together. Be aware that the Zali are particularly subject to this.
One area that Tryst seems to have completely conquered is the UI. While it may appear bulky at times, the Starcraft-like interface is by far the most logical and easy to use UI I have personally seen in an Indie RTS (let alone other genres). In fact, if you have played Starcraft 2, you should know exactly where all of the buttons are located and approximately what they look like. The similarities are unavoidable. This theme continues even into the look and feel of the units and structures as the majority of 3D objects appear to be highly influenced by Starcraft 2 with a little Dawn of War thrown in for good measure. That said, for an Indie game, Tryst can certainly boast a level of graphics comparable to many other large RTS titles.
As with many Indie games, Tryst has a difficult time perfecting dialogue and sounds of destruction. Many sounds such as guns or lasers appear to be the same or have a barely noticeable difference. Voice-overs can sound awkward or even a little crass at times, but they are certainly not even close to the worst voices in some big titles (I won’t mention any names…). However, where the voices and sound effects falter, the soundtrack breaks through like the sun. The only possible complaint that can be uttered about the in-game music is that there are short periods of silence.
For all the beauty and sound of the game, there are some areas where the game seems to be lacking the smooth polish that most RTS players are familiar with. In any game, population cap seems to be the biggest enemy. One is constantly building storage units to keep up with demand. This is especially cumbersome with the Zali. Units also appear pretty dumb at times when they do not react automatically in a defensive manner to the enemy attacking a building right next to them – nor do they advance towards an enemy a short distance away. It also appears to be impossible to save a skirmish game. However, there are certainly improvements in gameplay including multi-owner resource extractors. Environmental effects also add an interesting dynamic to capturing and protecting resources – a creative addition to the game. But even though there are drawbacks, the developer appears to be very sensitive and understanding to the community’s requests. Perhaps we will see patches or remedies for these issues in the near future?
For those who want to simply play against the computer in a storyline, there is a campaign built just for you! If there was one word to describe the campaign it would be “interactivity”. Missions involve constant decision-making – which units do I save? Which objective do I capture? The outcomes of these choices always come with distinct advantages and disadvantages that influence the mission’s difficulty. Ambushes and secret attacks also keep you on your toes at all times – especially when you think you’ve got the mission down. That said, save often – lest you have to start the entire mission over again!
While Tryst may not blow the entire RTS genre away, it certainly offers several new and entertaining features for those bored with the “same old same old” RTS games. It is an interesting and, quite frankly, a refreshing change in pace that draws players in for a unique experience not easily find anywhere else.