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Score: 76%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Headup Games
Developer: Uniworlds Game Studios
Media: Download/1
Players: 2 (Online & Local)
Genre: Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

I canít think of another game that has left me quite as conflicted as Tristoy. On one hand, itís a "Metroidvania" style game with choices that have some effect on the story Ė two things I am genetically predisposed to like about games. At the same time, I am not a fan of the "Co-op Only" requirement. Not that I donít enjoy playing with others, but finding the time is difficult, especially on my schedule.

Much like the gameplay, Tristoy has a look all its own. Rather than go for retro pixels or a clean rendered look, youíre instead given what looks like a painting in motion. The look is clean, yet imperfect, adding a nice rough around the edges feel. Animation is great, particularly attack animations. Watching the wizard cast spells is a lot of fun. The same canít be said for the soundtrack, which is nice but a bit too repetitive and droning. Voicework is equally problematic. Itís not bad, but thereís a unintentionally campy vibe to it.

The handling of split-screen play is also commendable. The system is similar to the LEGO games, with the screen merging and splitting based on the characterís proximity to one another. Though in and of itself unremarkable, I was impressed with how much usable, playable space is crammed into each panel. Initially, I was worried puzzle components would get lost from view, resulting in unnecessarily hard puzzles. Though you will have to move around a bit for the optimal view, the split screen was never a hindrance.


Tristoy starts with the capture of a prince, one of the two protagonists, and princess. Both are brought to a massive island prison. The witch sets out to torturing the prince, only to be interrupted by Stayn, a magician and the second protagonist, who helps the prince escape. The two team up to rescue the princess and escape the prison.

The initial setup sounds less than appealing, if a bit trite, though the tone and some other story elements are affected by your dialogue choices and actions. For example, the princeís response to one of the witchís early questions and his initial conversation with Stayn have repercussions further along in the story. These can be as small as alternate dialogue between the two characters or as large as changing the outcome of some events. Going into more detail gets dangerously close to spoiler territory, but knowing youíre having a unique experience is one of the better parts of Tristoy.

Gameplay should feel familiar to anyone who grew up playing side-scrolling action games like Metroid, only with a focus on co-op play. Just to make things perfectly clear, there is no Single-Player Mode. If you donít have someone to play with, or want to randomly match up with someone, thereís no way to play Tristoy. Well, there is a way, but believe me, switching between the controller and keyboard is a pain and quickly breaks down once you get to some of the trickier puzzles that require performing two actions at once.


One of the benefits of having a human co-op player is you get another brain to help solve puzzles and backup during combat. As a result, Tristoy isnít incredibly hard unless, of course, you simply canít get along with your partner. Other than a couple of minor hiccups unrelated to the core gameplay (Iím talking missed jumps or bold, brainless decisions), I had few problems making it through the dungeon. Puzzle design is incredibly smart in some areas and makes excellent use of each characterís unique abilities. However, once you figure out what youíre supposed to do, a process that doesn't take very long, the solution is really just a matter of coordination.

Game Mechanics:

As much of a bummer as the co-op only requirement is, Tristoy makes excellent use of its two characters. Each controls in the same way, though with vastly different abilities. The prince can only fight and interact with things on the physical plane, making him ideal for killing enemies quickly. Meanwhile, the wizard operates on the magical plane. He has a couple of powerful spells at his disposal, but they arenít devastating and he must rely on the prince to kill them. As a tradeoff, the prince is frail and dies easily, while the wizard is indestructible.

The difference between the two are well thought out and a real selling point for the core concept. Although the game isnít hard, you have to work well with your partner to get anywhere. The prince canít wander off on his own any more than the wizard can. Itís a nice addition to the genre and opens up a lot of unexplored mechanics and concepts.

The two heroes are apart just as much as they are together. As previously mentioned, the underlying ideas behind the puzzles are great, but figuring out a solution isnít very hard, which diminishes the satisfaction of solving a puzzle. Granted, finding the right balance between too easy and too hard is difficult, but a bump in difficulty would be welcome.

As much as I pined for a Single-Player Mode, I also recognize co-op is a major aspect of the gameís core design. Without the co-op, the overall experience would diminish significantly. Tristoy is a game I want to recommend, but only if you can find a steady co-op partner.

Special Note: Tristoy comes with an additional giftable Steam Code.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows 7 or newer; Processor: Intel Core i3; Memory: 4GB; Graphics: GeForce 8800 gts or Intel HD4000; DirectX: 9.0c; Hard Drive: 2 GB; Controller recommended

Test System:

OS: Windows 8.1; Processor: Intel Core i7 2.2Ghz; Memory: 8GB; DirectX: 11; Hard Drive: 500 GB

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