Pine review: Open World with something to tell

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Steven L. Ken

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Born from the creativity of the newborn Twirlbound, Pine it's a adventure open world set in a fantastic island full of life, bizarre creatures and many elements to discover.

When you are talking about Open World it is difficult not to think of the snow-covered expanses of The Elder Scrolls or to the mysterious lands of The Witcher. Despite the modest size of the software house, twirl bound, with the help of Kongregate, has decided to dispel the myth that a good Open World requires a large number of human and monetary resources. Will it have succeeded in its intent? Let's find out in our Pine review.

Pine review: what is it about?

In Pine we play the role of Hue, a young human whose tribe lived on a cliff top for a very long time, isolated from the rest of the world. Up here, humans live a life of hardship with very little room to expand and few resources to survive on. Older members of the tribe also frown upon the outside world and prevent anyone from exploring new lands. This climate fails to stop the temper of Safe, brother of Hue, bored with everyday life and always looking for new adventures.

The peaceful life of humans, however, will be turned upside down by a natural disaster that will destroy their village. Because of this, Hue will find herself having to search for a new home for humans in the outside world. Here he will discover that they exist other tribes of bizarre and fascinating creatures with which he must dialogue. Our protagonist will in fact have to face many dangers and hostile tribes and will need all the help necessary to help his people find a place in the world.

We will have to carefully choose the new allies as the other tribes do not appreciate the presence of humans at all. In the early stages of the game, in fact, many of these will attack us on sight in an attempt to get away from their village and their fellowmen. To improve our relations with them we will have to use the diplomacy, a pinch of wit and in the most extreme cases, the sword and the bow.

Villages and diplomacy

In fact, dealing with foreign tribes is the central element in Pine. Come on Cariblin, To Letter up to Gobbledew, winning a race's friendship begins with giving them gifts. Each race is different from the others and prefers gifts rather than others. The objects to be offered are resources or tools that Hue will find around or make with his hands through a system of crafting rather basic. By first becoming neutral and then friends with a tribe, you will have access to new functions offered by the village, new dialogues and new quests.

But be careful! The diplomatic relations it's not just about you and others, villages also have an opinion on other tribes and may not appreciate your gifts to their enemies. This makes the diplomatic element extremely complicated and interesting. Making the game even more difficult is the difficulty in finding the resources time-consuming to research and scouting. In addition to donating them to the other inhabitants, Hue needs to eat regularly and use certain resources to create a new one equipment more efficient.

In the later stages of the game, diplomacy reaches its peak. Once you have established your alliances and enmities, you can in fact organize real attacks against your enemies, whether it is poisoning the opposing leader, interrupting their trade or organizing battles to conquer a village. It all depends on you and your interests, so you can shape the world of Pine however you like.

A living world

What struck me most about this video game Indie and its constant dynamism. Each tribe has in fact collectors, traders and soldiers who travel far and wide. These are not simple NPCs that move randomly but each one constantly performs its function. THE binders, for example, they will actually gather resources around the world, perhaps the very resource you have been looking for for a long time. Furthermore, the inhabitants of the various tribes interact with each other according to their diplomacy. You will see them fighting each other in case of enmity or cautiously "sniffing" each other in case of neutrality.

Another dynamic element is given by theIA of the characters. In addition to the aforementioned reactions, the enemies and neutral monsters that populate the world possess one great learning ability your fighting style. If you often use the slingshot or other long-range weapons, the enemies will start hitting you from a distance more often, if instead you defend yourself frequently with the shield, the opponent will start to launch special attacks that cannot be parried. The artificial intelligence will quickly begin to adapt to your gaming habits and respond accordingly.

This represents a remarkable and clever degree of combat challenge in Pine. The fight system it is very complicated and can be cumbersome especially at the beginning. With a little practice, however, you will soon learn to dodge, roll, and counterattack opponents. The pace of the fights is very slow and it took a while to calculate the right timing to use a given attack. This makes the gameplay more compelling in which it is not enough to strike constantly.

A rich and colorful world

The vast world of Pine and the various dungeons / vaults, boast one graphic style which we loved: vibrant, rich in color and with excellent use of light and shadow. All this is even more surprising when you consider that Twirlbound's studio is made up of only 7 people. The style is clearly inspired by titles like the series of Fable o Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild, but manages to develop a noteworthy personal footprint as well as the character design of the inhabitants of the various tribes and creatures.

The elements that remind us that we are in the presence of an indie game are obviously not lacking. The animations are often woody and unconvincing. In addition, we have often and gladly found ourselves dealing with some bugs, e glitch annoying that we hope can be eliminated, perhaps with a future patch.

Pine review, buy it or not?

Pine is a beautiful example of how an original idea can find its place in the world of video games without needing millions of dollars. This is a fresh and original title that, while not without flaws, can make a significant contribution to Open World. 

Pine is now available on PC via Steam and on Nintendo Switch.


  • Great Concept
  • The diplomatic system is a real gem
  • Graphically pleasing
  • Interesting gameplay ...
  • ... although underdeveloped
  • Which more RPG element wouldn't hurt

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