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Pine certainly looks good, a proper open-world action adventure with a story depicting humans who never reached the top of the food chain. It just released with Linux support today.

Note: Both the publisher and GOG sent a copy for us.

Developed by Twirlbound with a publishing hand from Kongregate, the story and setting certainly sound great. Looks fantastic too, gives off a little bit of a Zelda Breath of the Wild vibe from the trailer and pictures. You can see the launch trailer for yourself below:

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As a quick bit of history, Pine was funded thanks to the help of around 4,091 Kickstarter backers pledging €121,480 back in 2017. Linux was included as a release platform and here we are.

Something to note since it will be asked, there's a set story to follow and so there's no character creation possible in Pine. The story follows the young protagonist, Hue, as they attempt to find out more about the world they're in as the elders seem to live in fear of the outside world.

Feature Highlight:

  • A seamless open world to explore, filled to the brim with secrets, puzzles and collectibles
  • A smart simulated ecology of species who fight each other over food and territory
  • A diverse cast of species to befriend or hinder through trading, talking, questing and fighting
  • An engaging combat system that learns from your every move
  • A sweeping story of a human tribe at the bottom of the food chain, struggling for survival

I've not had it long and sadly I've already noticed one major issue on NVIDIA. If you adjust VSync, your character model instantly vanishes so you're just clothes floating around. Quite a nuisance. I've reported it to them, which they've seen and it can be worked around by quitting and reloading. There's a few other times I've seen models not appear for various things too. Hopefully this will be amongst the first lot of fixes.

It's a Unity game using OpenGL, with no Vulkan support. I've tried forcing it to Vulkan but that caused the player log file to fill up with errors and eat entirely through my HDD space so that wasn't possible it seems.

Pine has everything in it that seems like an open-world adventure I could happily play for weeks, with the ability to explore and mess around in the environment. I've already had a few laughs with it, especially the weird and wonderful animals you come across. Disturbing a nest of "Puffles" was quite amusing, weird bird-like creatures that make a lot of noise and then they all make a mad dash to get away from you. Free eggs though—winner!

Pine has a number of different animal factions, all trying to control the island. If you help one and become allied, another might start attacking you on sight. To increase your standing with a faction, you need to give them a bunch of junk you find while exploring in a Donation Box near their village.

Some time later I was exploring, trying to find one of those Donation Boxes to increase my standing with a village. I found one and just as I was about to hand over the goods, what I can only describe as a huge and colourful (and surprisingly well equipped) Turkey decided it really didn't like me. It was mad—real damn mad.

It was well and truly kicking my butt, until a Fox-like person came along and started throwing explosives everywhere! What the heck is going on? I haven't a clue but it's brilliant.

The thing is, the Fox creature wasn't trying to help me. They just happened to be rival factions. After the colourful Turkey was defeated, the cunning Fox turned their attention to me and…a few bombs later I was toast.

From what I later learned, the Donation Box was right next to a village whose entire people were hostile to me. Okay then, so I sneak back to it later and donate a ton of rocks and wood and now they're my friends. Sorted. Well, that's stretching it a bit, we're almost friends. I just need to donate a few more rocks and random stuff I find on my travels.

I keep coming across these Turkey-like creatures, which I've now learned are actually called Gobbledew. They're manic fighters, they can launch themselves right up into the air at you and all. In a group, they're quite a nuisance to deal with. Seeing my new Fox friends (which are actually called the Fexel) growl at them when they come near their territory is quite awesome—and alarming with the volume up.

The Fexel eventually take me in, after I follow their gatherers for a while and pinch whatever goodies the Gobbledew end up dropping when slain by the Fexel, which I then donate back to the Fexel. Whose the cunning one now then? Me! Now they all salute me when I walk past, they even gave me a shield! Now I'm on my way to find someone else who might be familiar with Human equipment to help me gear up. Things are looking up!

Lots of amusing encounters are possible and the world seems quite big, plenty to see and do. Incredibly promising. You know a game is definitely good when you don't want to stop playing.

Rough edges but seems a huge amount of fun. You can pick up Pine from GOG and Steam.

Note: The article originally mentioned really low performance, but that is a result of issues with my CPU Governor. Forcing it to Performance makes it a lot better. It's likely the game is doing something we quoted Croteam tallking about in a previous GOL article.

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Kyrottimus 11 October 2019 at 2:55 am UTC
x_wingOn Mesa drivers (more specifically, with RadeonSI) the game generates artifacts due to Unity ambient occlusion. Fortunately there is a workaround: AMD_DEBUG=nodcc %command%

Runs really well on my system, 45-60 fps.

Came here to confirm, on MESA the Steam game launch command mentioned above works splendidly. It fixes the black dot-speckled artifacting and really smooths out the FPS as well.

As a side note, this game is a real gem. I'm sure time will prove this to be a true classic, and it has already really grown on me. It's been a long time since I found an action/adventure RPG like this that really pulls me in.

Last edited by Kyrottimus on 11 October 2019 at 2:59 am UTC
TheRiddick 11 October 2019 at 4:33 am UTC
so this game is built on opengl for Linux?
drmoth 11 October 2019 at 5:22 am UTC
TheRiddickso this game is built on opengl for Linux?

It's a Unity game, using the OpenGL renderer. Developers really need to start transitioning to the Unity Vulkan renderer, it'll run so much better.
sub 11 October 2019 at 7:49 am UTC
Apart from using OpenGL, this game looks great!

Does it feature a real story that you have to pursue?
Like the awesome game Zelda:BotW has?
(Seriously, one of the very best games I played in years).

I'm not much into sanbox open worlds. :/


Let me precise "story".
Does it have a "goal"?
From all descriptions I read so far this is not clear to me.
Sounds more like a sandbox.

Last edited by sub on 11 October 2019 at 9:26 am UTC
Arehandoro 11 October 2019 at 9:16 am UTC
Just activated my backer-key and hope to start playing it over the weekend!
Guppy 11 October 2019 at 9:21 am UTC
Seems like a game the kids would enjoy immensely, but what is the equivalent minimum requirement in terms of AMD cards?
snowkeep 11 October 2019 at 1:28 pm UTC
I don't need any more games, but this one intrigued me enough. I bought the GoG version. No performance issues, but I splurged on my new system after my mini-itx Richland system die. Some graphical corruption - looked like Makurosuke from Totoro crawling around in places (or "black-dot speckled artifacting" as said by Kyrottimus). The AMD_DEBUG=nodcc setting helped with that, but caused some other things to disappear (I think it was an invisible torch I was carrying around).
I'm finding the camera control pretty wonky. I am sure part of that is the Steam Controller right side pad. The pad response is extremely insensitive, and sometimes seems to be mirrored, until the edge of the pad, at which point it's way too sensitive. Hopefully I can find a setting to smooth that out.

Off to find more graphite and make a key.

sub: No idea how much of a story it has, but there are definitely missions. I've put in less than an hour so far.
m-svo 11 October 2019 at 2:11 pm UTC
Developers updated their position on character creation.

Quote@all hi! We hear you! The simple answer is we didn't realise how important this was, and with our small team of 7 we prioritised other features instead.

Maybe once we iron out our bugs we can take a look to see what we can do in this area.

Seeing all the good reviews, I am considering buying it anyways and hoping it will help them add this (very much desired) feature.
Salvatos 11 October 2019 at 4:01 pm UTC
Interesting to see so many people giving this a pass just because it has a specific main character. Maybe I’m too used to point-and-clicks and other games where this is customary, but do those people also miss out on the likes of Zelda, Metroid or Tomb Raider for the same reason?
Nezchan 12 October 2019 at 12:35 pm UTC
SalvatosInteresting to see so many people giving this a pass just because it has a specific main character. Maybe I’m too used to point-and-clicks and other games where this is customary, but do those people also miss out on the likes of Zelda, Metroid or Tomb Raider for the same reason?

From the hour-ish I watched yesterday, it seems less like a "specific" main character so much as an "everyman" one. Hue seems to have a lot less of what set Link apart as a lead, in terms of design and the rest. His early story could easily have been anyone's, so being able to customize would work just fine with what they have.
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