Overview

Thunder Game Works has just released Stenches, a spin-off of Trenches, their first path-drawing strategy game. This title lets you command various troops and kill vicious zombies instead of World War I soldiers, but retains much of the graphical quality and smooth gameplay that made Trenches such a unique experience.

Features

Stenches has 2 game modes that take place on 4 beautiful maps with 3 difficulty options. In waves mode, zombies charge at you from the other side of the battlefield in several groups and you have to kill them before they reach the British headquarters. There are 20 levels for each of the 4 maps on every difficulty, making a total of 240 waves. In distance mode, you have to advance your troops as far to the right as possible while the zombies sprint toward you at full speed. The game also has Game Center integration with leaderboards and 16 achievements.

The Good

Stenches includes just about everything that gave Trenches its success, from the basic concept to effective controls. As a British Commander, you start out with a bit of money and can use it to purchase different units. After eliminating a zombie, several coins appear on the screen that you can tap to gain extra gold. You can draw and change the path of any soldier so that they hide behind obstacles or in trenches, where they are much better protected. Besides touching and dragging on a unit to move it, you can scroll across the battlefield by swiping at the top of the screen. 2 finger gestures can be used to make all your units advance or retreat at the same time.

The 4 in-game maps each contain a few features that make them a lot of fun to play. For example, the swamplands environment has patches of quicksand that will suck down friendly units if they stand in it for too long, whereas the graveyard has lightening bolts that strike tombstones and kill units in the vicinity. There are several units, including soldiers with sniper rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, and more. Stenches features a special upgradeable unit that has the ability to construct several obstacles, such as barbed wire.

The different zombies help to make Stenches much more challenging. Although the game is relatively easy in the first 10 waves, the addition of monsters that jump, explode with poisionous gas, and throw other zombies really makes you rethink your strategy. Every now and then, you’ll be confronted by boss zombies that are much harder to extinguish. All the zombies are designed to look as disgusting while magnificent as possible and almost match the artwork quality of the maps. A dramatic soundtrack full of screams and gunshots is included to add some horror to the experience. Thunder Game Works has announced that additional maps, zombies, and Game Center multiplayer will be coming soon in a free update.

The Bad

While Stenches is a phenomenal game, it is too similar to Trenches and sometimes feels like it should be available as an in-app purchase rather than a separate title. With the exception of the play modes, currency system, and a few other elements, gameplay is almost identical to that of Trenches. Also, you only earn gold after killing zombies, which makes it hardest to construct more units when you need to the most.

The Verdict

At the time of its release, Trenches added a lot of fun to the strategy-defense genre with the new path-drawing integration. Although it feels like much of the same game, Stenches will provide you with over 200 waves of zombie madness and might actually be more enjoyable. Stenches is a should buy for $1.99 and is worth your time, especially if you liked its predecessor.