An ambitious open-world concept that started life as a Kickstarter project, Dutch development company Twirlbound received €121,480 (£104,367/$133,890) in backing to make Pine a reality.
Pine’s Kickstarter campaign commenced in March 2017, its announcement trailer was showcased by Nintendo on their YouTube channel in March 2019, and then Pine received its long-awaited release date for 26 November 2019.
It is now available on PC for £19.49 ($24.99) via Steam and on the Nintendo Switch for £19.49 ($24.99), but was it worth the wait?
This Pine review is completely spoiler-free, and despite delving into the pros, cons, and appearance of microtransactions within the game, it only takes up to five minutes to read!
Pine review in five minutes
Entering into the game, wandering around the first settlement, and completing the introductory missions, there is a subtle charm to the character, creature, and environment design, and the music suits the game very well – especially when combat begins.
Billed as an open-world adventure game, there’s certainly plenty of land to explore, beings to encounter, and items to loot and craft: but what’s most captivating is the rivalries functionality that’s in play.
On the island of Albamare (Pine’s setting), you play as a human called Hue who needs to befriend the other humanoid-animal species which dominate the island. Befriending one species will, however, result in other species being friendlier or less friendly to you when you encounter them while roaming the island.
You get to choose which species to help or hinder by battling their foes and delivering resources to upgrade their settlements. The mechanic is, by far, the best aspect of the game and makes for some very shrewd and tactical decision making.
It’s made even better by the tribes of species acting independently while the player explores the island, with their gatherers collecting materials and trying to follow the progress of tribes that the player bolsters.
However, Pine does have many flaws, the primary of which is the lack of help offered by the game to the player. While you can put mission markers on a map, there are many objectives where the player is just expected to cotton-on to what they need to do or see the necessary next step.
Along with the general unhelpfulness of the game throughout the story, there are a few perceived bugs – which may be as a result of going off track due to the lack of guidance – the poor lighting can get very tedious in certain areas, and the combat becomes dull rather quickly.
The world hosts special items to find, puzzles to solve, and a decent number of rival species, but Albamare can still feel empty. This sense is heightened while progressing through the story to its conclusion.
While the story itself is sound, the missions that it takes you on are rather repetitive and often frustrating or confusing due to the aforementioned lack of guidance from the game.
Pine offers many great ideas, especially the rivalries and development mechanics, the story is very good at heart, and the characters are a joy yo play alongside when they’re not attacking you.
However, Pine certainly needs fleshing-out for it to reach its potential and offer more than just some intriguing concepts that are padded by superb-looking humanoid creatures.
Does Pine have microtransactions or loot boxes?
Pine does not feature any microtransactions or loot boxes. You get the whole game when you make the purchase, and if you want to progress, you just have to play the game.
Pine is an underwhelming game with greatness at its core
It’s such a shame that Pine didn’t build enough around its superb core rivalry mechanics and the ever-developing world around the player. The island’s inhabitants are very eye-catching, and the core story is strong, but Pine is let down by its lack of depth and the lack of assistance offered.
Pine review recap
- The ever-moving world and rivalry mechanic has a lot of potential.
- Fellow inhabitants of the island are splendid.
- Very little help offered when you need it during missions.
- A vast open-world that feels very empty at times.
- Rather expensive given how much the game actually offers.
Pine does not feature any microtransactions or loot boxes.
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