Trenches Review: Truly A Game to End All Games

I’ve had my eye on Thunder Game Works’s game Trenches for a while now, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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