Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Trenches by Thunder Game Works - $1.99
Buy it Now on the App Store

Trenches was a game that was released over around the Christmas/New Year slowdown on the App Store, which was perfect timing for this game. With no AAA releases coming during this time Indy developers could really prevail like the early days. If Trenches was contending with EA and Gameloft then this would still be in the Top 100, but I doubt it would reach the Top 5 like it has.

Just like Flight Control, other games similar have been released and in particular 2012 Zombies and Aliens. This game has its pros and cons compared to Trenches, but where this game definitely wins out are the amount of levels compared to Trenches small campaign mode. If there is one area where Trenches let me down it is in the main campaign mode.


This is a great looking game that has some great looking characters in the game. Trenches is set in the times when having big, proud mustaches were all the fashion. The troops all look spectacular and to me vaguely look like something that could appear in a violent Paper Mario game. The battle fields look nice and have some detail put in them such as the cracks in the ground and the different backgrounds for different locations. The game looks great and runs smoothly, but where I felt let down especially compared to ZvA was the fighting animation.

In Zombies vs Aliens you have bodies flying everywhere, body parts being lost and heaps of blood and gore all over the place just as a battle should be. In Trenches you have everyone firing shots at each other until they die, which is just the body falling over and fading. I found blood when killing the Zombie Horde but not against the troops and bodies do go flying but only when bombed. Sure the amount of gore wouldn't be the same as what Zombies or Aliens could deliver, but just the little things like blood splatter would make this more realistic.. in a way.


I really like the controls in Trenches. At first I thought it was unnecessary and pointless having these controls but after playing ZvA I realized that they engage you heaps more in the actual game. Trenches is very similar to Flight Control in that you must drag you finger from one of your troop to a location and they will follow your exact path. While it isn't a precise method like avoiding planes in the sky, where you place your troops can determine how you go in battle as a formation can help you in harder battles.

You troops will auto-advance until they reach their first battle, which is when they will stop. They won't move again until you command them to do so. Unlike in ZvA your troops can retreat if needed and you can stop them on open ground, where as ZvA troops would only stop in trenches. Now that I have played this a bit I love the line drawing method and can really see the advantages of using this process. While it makes the game more complicated, it adds another dimension to the game that similar games don't have.


The length of the actual game is what I felt kept this game from being super good. There are two game modes, Campaign mode and Skirmish. Even though I would have originally guessed that Campaign mode would be the main one, you are forced to spend most of your playing time in Skirmish. This isn't because you need to do this mode to unlock stuff in the game, but mainly because of how short the Campaign mode is.

The Campaign takes you on a trip through the main battles from World War I. Sadly though it seems there were only 6 big battles so we only get six levels in Campaign mode. The levels were quite fun while they lasted, with the aim to get your troops to the end of the battlefield to claim victory. This is done by slowly but surely killing enemies and advancing your troops into Trenches, where you get the upper hand in an equal battle. Once the coast is clear you can move forward and hopefully reach another trench.

The six levels in Campaign mode are fairly similar, except that as you go to harder locations there are more or less trenches and barb wire to slow you in your tracks. The campaign mode can be played in either Easy, Medium or Hard difficulty, with a strategy or game plan needed if you are going to survive the night in Hard mode.

Skirmish mode is really a customizable Campaign, where you get to choose all the features and set up a game for yourself. You can change the battle location, length of the field, difficulty level and once completing Campaign mode what game mode. The game modes are either the normal shoot-out or Zombie Horder which is unlocked after completing the campaign. The aim of this is to set up a stronghold and defend for as long as possible as the rapidly advancing and multiplying Zombies approach you. The don't fire at you but kill with deadly speed if they manage to reach your troops, calling game over within a minute or so.

Take this review lightly, as I could only comment on what I played. The developers are intent on continually updating the game to make this a pleasurable experience for all users. I have received word that a longer and more complete campaign mode will be available in a free update within the week, so this would obviously alter my thoughts on this game.


Just like Pocket God started out, this seems to be a great preview of the game that will continue to grow over many months. As long as the developers keep to their word and continue to improve this game I can see it being just as big as Flight Control or Harbor Master. The game mechanics itself are a spectacular concept and the new style of fighting is a perfect game for the iDevice.

If I had to suggest either this or 2012 ZvsA I would find it hard to pick in their current states, but ZvsA would just edge it out. The amount of levels and upgradeable units probably win out against the more innovative and involving, yet short game. I suggest that you wait until the new update of Trenches is out and make your mind up yourself whether the new Campaign is of a sufficient length.

Gameplay- 6/10
Graphics- 9/10
Controls- 7.5/10
Overall- 7.5/10

I would recommend this game if you enjoyed- 2012 Zombies vs Aliens


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