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Trenches Review: Truly A Game to End All Games

I’ve had my eye on Thunder Game Works’s game Trenches, and at first it didn’t look that impressive from the gameplay trailer. It seemed to be a run-of-the-mill World War II game, but after I’ve gotten my hands on it it’s anything but that. This game is chock-full of charm, fun, and replayability, which altogether makes a very attractive package. A hybrid of line-drawing, shooting, strategy, and action, Trenches is a game that will definitely not disappoint.

Likes

No Soldier Limit: There is no limit to how many soldiers you can have, both on screen and in the trenches. For far too long, I’ve been frustrated with games where I cannot command something that’s more like an army instead of something that resembles a ragtag guerilla squad. Looking at hundreds of my soldiers in one trench firing upon the enemy is pretty satisfying, not to mention the fun I have when tons of enemies are rushing at my soldiers and get cut to pieces. This game is the first game that makes me feel like I’m commanding soldiers in a war, not small-scale skirmish.

Exemplary AI Settings: Another failing of many games, both on the iPhone and iPod Touch and on consoles, is that sometimes the AI is just too easy even on the hardest setting. Thunder Game Works has done a great job creating AI settings that will satisfy even the most casual and hardcore gamers, because  the Easy difficulty is a walk in the park and Hard is a nice challenge.

In addition, I was amazed that Thunder Game Works has also managed to implement an Adaptive AI setting, which is almost impossible to beat. The reason for this is, as the name suggests, the AI adapts to every strategy you try within a matter of one or two minutes, making winning a battle a feat only the best of the best can achieve. This “adaptive” AI is something that I’d like to see implemented in many more games in the future, because it’s a setting that can make even the most hardcore gamers frustrated and compelled to try again, and because I believe it’s something that’s quite interesting and possibly revolutionary.

Charm: This game just has an unexplicable charm to it that makes me come back to it again and again. Maybe it’s the art and graphics, or maybe it’s just the flying heads and limbs when I bomb things with my artillery, I don’t really know. Nevertheless, though it’s something I can’t put into words, I’m very surprised how much I play this game.

Easy to Learn: The game’s interface is very user-friendly and even before reading the instructions I experimented and already found out how to do things. The basic functions are easy to learn and easy to use – drawing a line with your finger moves a squad, swiping across the sky moves the map, tapping an icon on the bottom summons a squad of that type, and dragthe artillery icon to an area to bombard it. Easy as pie.

Dislikes

Moving Large Amounts of Squads: It’s easy to move single or small amounts of squads by swiping a line, but it becomes a minor inconvenience when I have over ten squads in one trench, because I either have to swipe crazily hoping they all come out, or do it slowly one by one to make sure all the squads move out. If there was something like double tapping a trench to bring up an option that moves all the squads out of the trench, it’d be much appreciated.

Short Campaign: I wish there were more missions in the campaign, because it really is quite short. This deficit is offset by the game’s numerous good features, but I can’t help but hope there are more missions in the future. Until then, I’ll be playing the skirmish mode.

Action, line-drawing, shooters, and strategy games are all great in their own right, but what if one game combined them all to make an insane hybrid of all the above? Well, Trenches does that, and mixes all the genres together very well. I commend Thunder Game Works for bringing such a great game to the iPhone and iPod Touch, and I highly recommend it to everyone. If you are interested in the aforementioned categories at all, this game is a must buy.

Trenches was developed by Thunder Game Works, and I played through version 1.0 of the game on my iPod Touch 2G (OS 3.1.2).  The current price point of the game is $2.99.



  1. appfreak on Monday 28, 2009

    Great review, I’m going to play it now for the first time and can’t wait. I used to play a similar flash game, but it had a limit of three troops per trenches. I’ve been following the development and for their debut game it looks brilliant.

    Any recommended strategy?

  2. Jeff on Monday 28, 2009

    Not really. It depends on what difficulty you’re on. I’m assuming the flash game you played was Warfare 1917 or 1944?

    I’d recommend having not too many troops crowded together, because the AI definitely knows how to artillery your troops. Overall, I guess my suggestion would be to always have your soldiers in trenches when possible to minimize damage, and to have a combination of snipers and normal infantry.

  3. Jindo Fox on Monday 28, 2009

    Hm … looks an awful lot like a militarized version of Plants Vs. Zombies. If that’s true, they took out the fun stuff and put in “humorous” soldiers and killing. Not for me. :-(

    But P vs. Z should be out real soon now, right?

  4. Jeff on Monday 28, 2009

    Actually, I think you should give this game a try. It’s really quite fun, and so far I’ve been enjoying it a lot.

    As for Plants vs. Zombies, the release has been delayed to late January 2010, so you’ve got to wait another month or so for it to make it to your iPhone or iPod Touch.

  5. XIII on Monday 28, 2009

    Just bought it yesterday, unfortunately I only had about 5 minutes to try it but it seems like good fun.
    Thanks for the review.

  6. GamePlayer on Monday 28, 2009

    I love it. Just bought it on New Years and got it for 99 cents!

  7. Dave on Monday 28, 2009

    Awesome game, but I agree when you have a ton of
    units together it is almost impossible to get them to move as a unit and most of the time they just inch forward one at a time or don’t even respond to the swiping. A more efficient way of directing masses of troops is desperatly needed.

  8. [...] of replayability. As such, I rated their game a Must Have, and you can see the review of the game here. The interview we had is provided below, and if you haven’t gotten the game yet it is certainly [...]

  9. Calvin on Monday 28, 2009

    How do you unlock the hidden achievement?