Trenched | Gameguide Trenched – Gameguide

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‘Trenched’ is the third XBox Live game from Double Fine, coming after ‘Costume Quest’ and ‘Stacking’. In Trenched you get to pilot a ‘mobile trench’, which is a giant, killer robot that mounts a variety of guns, artillery, sniper rifles and more exotic tools of destruction. You and your trench are based on a giant warship that also supports you by letting you to call in ‘emplacements’ or fixed turrets that are dropped onto the field in giant artillery shells.

Trenched plays like a cross between a real time mech battling game like Armored Core and a classic tower defense game like Toy Soldiers. Trenched is inspired by a World War like Toy Soldiers, only this time it’s a twisted wierd science version of the Second World War. Your opponents aren’t human, instead they’re giant robotic televisons called ‘tubes’ that are bent on enslaving the human race. The tubes are created and constantly upgraded by a very mad, very Russian sounding evil scientist.

You’ll battle them across the three theatres of the real Second World War: Europe, Africa and The Pacific. Each of those theatres features five maps with a mix of goals, although typically each involves defending one or more buildings from the rampaging tubes. Each map is static, with fixed spawn points for the tubes, and fixed things for you to defend. The tubes attack in fixed waves as well, often forcing you to split your defense between several structures in the later missions. Most missions also introduce a new variety of tube the mad scientist has cooked up to foil you. There’s an amusing, but thin back story to the missions which is told through nicely rendered ‘Commando Comic’ style artwork, and short in-game cut-scenes that start each mission. The cut-scenes can get little tiresome if you find yourself trying a mission several times however as they aren’t skippable. Each theatre also closes with a huge end boss you’ll have to defeat.

Overall the game feels well balanced and is moderately difficult. The challenge comes in customising your trench with the appropriate load out of on-board weaponry and emplacement choices for the type of tubes you’re about to tackle. Your commander gives you advice about what to take and generally if follow that advice you will prevail, although it’s also worth experimenting with different set ups. Once you’re in the mission, you use your tower defense skills to lay down defensive emplacements on your flanks and get stuck in and blast those tubes to scrap with your trench.

The missions are fairly repeatative, but do get noticeably harder in the last theatre once you’re facing a full variety of tube enemies, each with a special power or attack, which will attack enmass in mixed waves that support each other. The increasingly powerful tubes are balanced by the more exotic and powerful trench weapons and emplacements you’ll unlock through spending money earned for succesfull missions, finding items in the missions, and completing in-game challenges like killing a certain number of tubes with particular weapon types.

Trenched doesn’t really bring anything new to the table in terms of gameplay, and if you’ve played Toy Soldiers on Xbox Arcade it will feel quite familiar. However Double Fine are experienced game developers and Trenched is a solid game that is up to their usual high standards. Graphically it looks more like a retail title than most XBox Live games, with lovely artwork and good animation for your pilot, trench and the tube enemies. There’s plenty to unlock in terms of weapons, parts to modify your trench and even clothes and helmets for your pilot. The game has a fair amount of replay value as well even though there’s only 15 missions because it also supports up to four players in co-op modes. Given the other Double Fine XBox Arcade releases we can probably also expect a single DLC pack for Trenched in the future.

If you enjoy piloting giant robots to blast enemies to pieces, and don’t loathe tower defense style games then Trenched is definitely worth checking out.

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