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Overview

Trenches is a WWI themed cartoonish casual strategy game. You just tap one of the six solider units, and the soldiers appear, and move across the battle field. Then you can adjust their path by drawing a new one, and making them stop at certain points or in trenches.

You play as the English battling the Germans mainly in France. Two gameplay modes are included as you attempt to make it across the battlefield, and experience trench warfare.
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Features

The two gameplay modes are campaign and skirmish mode. Campaign mode presents six battles that you progress through with each win unlocking a new solider unit/weapon. Skirmish mode allows you to play one map, and you choose the difficulties, and how long the battlefield is.

Upon completing the campaign mode you unlock zombie horde in skirmish mode which is simply survival. The six units are: infantry (a group of three), sniper, machine gun, mortar, bomb, and poison gas bomb.

Controls are straight forward, just tap one of the icons at the bottom, and they appear, then just draw their path from that point. When approaching an enemy be sure to draw up to them, rather than your opponent on the aggressive. OpenFeints is also included with scores and achievements.
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The Good

Trenches is definitely a fresh take on strategy and path drawing games with an outstanding WW1 theme. It’s a strategy game for the casual user that’s easy to pick up and play, and succeed. The game is fun at times as you attempt to make as many units as possible, get into the trenches, and slowly work your way across the battlefield.

The campaign mode is good while it lasts. It presents six different maps that make the battle field longer, so the battles take a little longer. You need to conquer the map in pieces, taking the first quarter, and then breaking through half way, until you’re pushing back the German forces.
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The zombie horde mini-game is a fun little distraction as you try to survive as long as possible until you are overrun. Skirmish mode in general are fun little distractions, but when you win you just play another with only a high score to show for your efforts.

The game has excellent production values highlighted by the look of the game. The cartoonish art is finely detailed with every solider presenting personality. The sky, and trench environments are also extremely detailed, and everything moves so well. When a bomb is dropped the little soldiers are blasted into pieces with their heads falling to the ground.

The included soundtrack is absolutely top notch with a great action packed heroic theme. The firing sound effects sound appropriate for the era. The voice acting though leaves a lot to be desired with only a couple lines included that play extremely infrequently.
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OpenFeint is included for online high scores as well as achievements which help somewhat to keep playing. A good save system is included to pick up right where you left off. The three difficulty levels, and adaptive difficulty in skirmish mode presents more challenges as do the 20 quality achievements.

The Bad

The campaign mode is simply too short. When you finish, you’ll exclaim, “that’s it?!” There are six campaign battles which blow by, and then you’ve done everything in the game. The skirmish mode is just one battle of the maps you’ve already beaten. An update may rectify, but as it stands now this game is relatively short lived.
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One concern is that it’s a strategy game, but it doesn’t require much strategy. In every battle if you add a new solider right when they’re available, and progress forward as far as you can, you will win the battle by attrition alone.

Strategy is taken out a little by the use of bombs. You can’t cluster your soldiers to win with superior numbers because a bomb can wipe them out at any moment. So you have to space your soldiers, and this makes it take longer to get through a battle. Also, the trenches should present a tactile advantage, but don’t provide as much as they realistically should.
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Get through a battle is the right way to describe it, as the game is simply boring not requiring much action from you, and not requiring much thinking either. It’s simply going through the motions until you will win, even on hard mode. Overall the best strategy is just to spam infantry until you win. A minor history inaccuracy in that they didn’t have that accurate of bombs in WWI, but it’s a game not a documentary.

The Verdict

Trenches is a wonderfully designed game that brings strategy games to the casual user. It has a great theme, super simple, and quite fun. The campaign mode is much too short though, and the game can get pretty boring pretty quickly.

Overall it’s superbly designed, but there’s just not enough of it, and not enough strategy required to be rated too highly. For $1.99 though it’s worth it.