The Average Gamer

Tryst Review (PC)

What is it?
A SciFi Real Time Strategy game which focusses on fast-paced micro-management with a cheesy plotline.

Is it fun?
It is fun in the way Evil Dead is fun. On the surface it has so many problems, but as a B-Game style RTS there is definitely some fun to be had.

Is it worth the money? £19.99
Probably not, unfortunately. £9.99 in a Steam Sale and I would say yes.

Tryst is one of those games where I’m very much torn because while I certainly had a lot of fun with it I’m not sure I can heartily recommend it for the £20 price tag. For example: I love SciFi (or SyFy… ergh) channel original movies. I know, statistically speaking, that they are low budget, at best averagely written, cheap and cheerful b-movie ideas which would never see the light of day in a cinema. However, I still really enjoy them for what they are. This is the same stance I currently have with Tryst.

Gotta love that hairstyle.

I must put my personal opinions aside however and state that mechanically this is not a terrific game. The game is jerky and buggy – I had it freeze up on me four separate times because my ‘Commander’ unit was deemed unreachable by an NPC when they were – and the graphics are at best nothing special, especially if you have the ‘Toon Style Shading’ turned off.

The difficulty is also all over the place as it peaks and plummets like an indecisive child on a trampoline between different missions. Sometimes you would find yourself steam-rolling through one mission objective only to find yourself reloading a previous save 20-30 times on the next objective of the same mission trying to figure out why your army which worked 5 minutes ago doesn’t any more.

The campaign though is tragically short. You can make you way through the whole thing in around 7 hours (depending on how well you can cope with the difficulty curves). There’s some replay element built in as there are decisions in missions where you must choose one objective over another so technically you can replay the entire campaign again and choose the opposite decision. However, the decisions don’t have too much impact on the outcome so this is really for completionists or achievement whores. It strikes me as a low budget RTS that should have ditched multiplayer all together and put all its focus onto a longer campaign, as in my opinion the single player is Tryst’s biggest strength. Even with the above criticism.

Kind of looks like a Tim Burton movie…

Harsh criticism, which definitely had to be placed up front in this review, but there are some redeeming features to Tryst which are worth following that up with. The story and dialogue, which although cheesy and not brilliantly acted, is pretty damn entertaining. Again, to drag up this b-game idea, it’s not carefully crafted or akin to a published piece of literature but it’s beautifully terrible. I didn’t feel like the fate of the galaxy was at stake, but I smiled and smirked my way through my merry band of overly Russian and British troops as they hiked their way through alien terrain chanting “Military training for the win!”. It may not be a major player in the genre, but it is still damn entertaining for a small time RTS, as long as you don’t take it too seriously going in then it’s actually pretty good in that respect.

That said though, the multiplayer portion is probably the weakest part of the game – which is unfortunate. A large number of RTS games live or die by the calibre of their online modes and Tryst just can’t possibly compete in this arena. Compared to the other RTS giants Tryst does have the advantage of the more fast-paced micro style, leading to shorter 10-20 minute matches over the traditional 15-30 minute ones, but the map pool is very limited and the games quickly become monotonous with only around 2 builds on either side being viable. This of course all assumes that you can even find a game at all as there are few players dedicated enough to still be trying to find a game.

Pew! Pew! Pew!

Overall, Tryst has all the pieces of what should be a decent RTS, but falls short on some key elements that mean I have no choice but to say it should be avoided unless there’s a price drop. It’s a sub-par game but I had fun with it, so if anything I’ve stated as a positive appeal to you then it may well be worth your time. If you’re after a solid RTS to compete with almost any other higher budget title on the market then I would suggest waiting for a Steam Sale on this one. It’d be a good deal at £9.99 and a total steal at £4.99.

Tryst is available now on Steam, GamersGate and GreenMan Gaming.

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