War is hell, and for each man who perish by a bullet from his fellow man mankind takes another loss. A loss of dignity, a loss of genome and a loss of reason. Thankfully we can all forget about the serious implications for a while playing games about it. And if they are cute, and somewhat clever we even frolic in carnage. Hence mankind forgets about war, and it can be repeated all over again.
Okay that was probably the most cynical opening paragraph I have ever written, and still it retains a whole lot of truth. We play games of war to both bring understanding and to remember the past. World War 1 is one of the most brutal war mankind has ever waged, and it is hard to understand for us walking around in our safe cities worrying at the most about battery life of our iPhones. World War 1 has been portrayed in so many games, and in so many ways over the past years that it takes something different to get noticed. Trenches for the iPhone is a game not in the least looking to be a realistic game, or to convey the historical facts of the war. It just uses the war as a setting for cartoon men to kill each other.
Trenches is a combination of a line drawing game and a castle defence game. The object of the game is to get your soldiers to gain foothold, and progress across the map. You win by getting your soldiers all the way into the enemy spawn territory to the right. You loose by letting your opposition progress all the way to the left. I don’t need to point out that there are really no winners in war, I kind of guess that you have already figured that out from my opening paragraph.
You recruit solders based on your available money, and initially you only have ordinary infantry to choose from. Once a unit is recruited it enters the map, and starts to make it’s way across the map. Money is slowly accumulating, and you can recruit new soldiers at certain intervals. The active soldiers on the map you can order around by simply touching them, and dragging them to their new position. This means that you can assemble a lot of troops to march together. This gives you a whole lot of firepower against enemy infantry but makes your entire platoon vulnerable to artillery and mortar fire. To scroll the map you drag left and right along the top of the screen. I have had trouble scrolling as I tend to go to low, and start ordering soldiers around instead. Other than that the controls work fine.
There are two game modes: Skirmish mode that lets you set up battles, and choose available troops and enemy skill. Campaign mode with three levels of difficulty is the main mode of the game. A cool zombie mode is unlocked when you finish the campaign. In campaign you progress through World War 1. You unlock new unit types, and you get to choose which you want to have first. Artillery, artillery with poison gas, sniper, mortar squad and a machinegun crew are all available to enter the fray. For easy the campaign takes about 15 minutes to complete, 30 minutes on normal and I have yet to complete the hard campaign difficulty.
No matter what difficulty or mode you play the gameplay itself gets quite repetitive as you and your opponent constantly pour new cannon fodder onto the battlefield. Sure there is some strategy involved in getting the most potent mix of soldiers to gather, and attack together as well as making sure they get proper cover from the available trenches. Officers are awarded for heroic efforts, and can boost your men if kept nearby. Your men also get promoted if they stay alive, and kill a couple of enemies.
The presentation in Trenches is great with cartoon soldiers, great sound effects and voiceovers. The music is quite alright as well, and you can play your own as well. The silhouettes of trashed countryside and bombed cities in the background give a clear reminder of the setting.
Trenches is a fun game in short spurts, as it gets way to samey too quickly otherwise. As a pick up and play game it is definitely worth the buck asked, and as it comes with 20 achievement, and online leaderboards through OpenFeint you can get quite a lot of gamelife out of it. In the end Trenches proves that war can be fun, and since mankind thinks that it deserves all the wars it gets. Logic, got to love it.
Seller: Thunder Game Works