At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking that Tryst is little more than a StarCraft clone; the game takes place in a war between space marines and aliens and has some suspiciously familiar design elements after all. However, digging a little deeper into this RTS from BlueGiant Interactive reveals a game with unique ideas and some potential to stand out from the crowd.
The basics of Tryst should be pretty familiar to both veterans of the real time strategy genre and those who have merely dabbled; players are tasked with managing their resources to build an army strong enough to take on their opponent’s. At the beginning of a match, you’ll be given a base and two nodes that will give you a steady supply of ore and energy, though not nearly enough to create a force to claim victory.
Rather than building several bases where you can somewhat safely bring in more minerals for your glorious empire, several resource nodes are spread out across the map. Once you claim one of these nodes they can be attacked and taken from you at any time, meaning you’ll be constantly defending them and engaging in small scuffles all over the place. This idea is incredibly exciting: struggling to balance numerous small groups of units all over the map while making the call as to how many of what unit should defend which locations while also plotting to take resources from your enemies. This is something rarely seen done on a level like this before. This is the area where a lot of potential exists.
On the subject of armies, there were two races present in the beta that will presumably be the final two in the game: Humans and Zali. Humans are exactly what you’re likely expecting in that they build the structures necessary to create and upgrade your army. In terms of units you’ll be able to make your basic soldier-like Mercs, a massive mech called the Behemoth, a Dropship for getting ground units around the map quicker, and some other intriguing units like the scientist-gone-wrong Mad Rat.
The Zali play differently to the Humans but they should be similarly familiar to RTS fans. Players of this race will also construct units from their base and use them to construct buildings, but there is little similarity beyond that. Buildings still serve to upgrade the units but not to actually build them. Rather, you will morph one of the two base units into more powerful creatures depending on which of the three distinct tech paths you take. For instance, building the Shrine of Strife will unlock the Morpher unit’s ability to transform into a Striker rather than a Guardian. This is a pretty interesting idea which really separates them from being a simple Zerg knock-off, though the “charges” that you need to actually build the units should be a pretty familiar concept. Another interesting idea that the Zali have is the Harvester unit’s ability to reclaim parts of their fallen comrades and use them to create entirely different ones.
There is one thing that both races share, and that is A.R.M.; an interface that allows you to choose upgrades for your units that somewhat resembles what you’d find in a level-up screen in an RPG. Adding this to the RTS genre is pretty interesting if it can be tweaked to be more than a slightly more convenient location to choose upgrades. You can also pick new abilities here such as the Striker’s levitate which grants the unit ten seconds of flight, effectively turning it into an air unit for a short time.
Another aspect of the game that seems to have a lot of potential is the environmental dangers: One of the maps featured resource nodes sat right in the middle of burning ground, so taking the nodes came at great risk to the assigned squad. If this idea can be expanded upon in the full game, it could be pretty exciting to see what kind of effect this has on high-level matches assuming a competitive scene rises up around the game.
What was shown in the beta wasn’t so much impressive as it was intriguing. There’s little bits of genius wrapped up in this game that is sadly overshadowed by a lack of polish and the obvious comparisons to StarCraft and Command & Conquer, though that’s unavoidable. Given a bit more work and time though, this game could be a great addition to the RTS genre.