You’ve got to appreciate the originality of a war game that avoids the overdone wars. This isn’t WWII, and it isn’t Vietnam. This is the Great War, World War I, when soldiers dove into trenches to avoid enemy fire. For those not familiar with the Trenches series, this is the second official sequel but third in the series. Stenches, a spinoff of the main franchise, focused on the “what if” scenario of WWI soldiers versus zombies, but Trenches 2 expands on the original Trenches.
The war rages across Europe, and you’re in charge. The game map is less linear than in previous games. You pick the missions to fight, causing the map to branch out in various directions.
Each level will look similar. You start in a bunker on one end, and the enemy starts at the other. The goal is usually to reach and destroy your enemy’s bunker, but there are scenarios that will involve other objectives. Your enemies will also vary, depending on which army you control. You have the option of British, German, or French armies, each with their own specialties.
The inspiration for Spielberg’s War Horse.
Your army is also varied, and you will need to learn which troops to use. You have your basic infantry, but you can also order machine gunners, snipers, and medics. You can also call in bombing runs or mustard gas attacks from above. Of course, all of these will require resources to “summon,” so managing these resources will require your constant attention.
Once you’re winning battles, you earn perk points, which you can spend to unlock new troops and upgrade your existing ones. As you can only have seven troop types per battle, you’ll have to customize your army for each level. In case you haven’t noticed, Trenches II will give you lots of options. You have control over how you play, but not the game itself.
He seems to enjoy his work.
For a game called Trenches, there are surprisingly few of them. This is important to note, because trenches are vital to your army’s survival. Your Engineer can upgrade trenches into bunkers, and new troops will roll out from the closest bunker. Fewer trenches means more difficulty in keeping your army alive, which means that, no matter which difficulty level you choose, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle. Trenches II pulls no punches, and you will be stopping battles mid-fight to start over and rethink your strategy.
The biggest problem with Trenches II is the interface. On the iPhone’s smaller screen, we ran into some issues. You command your army by tapping and drawing, but looking up and down the field requires constantly dragging your finger from side to side. It is also difficult when you have several troops in one spot, as selecting one particular troop is nearly impossible. The game works well, but the interface isn’t perfect. There is an iPad version available, though.
Bringing out the big guns.
There’s also a problem with the tutorial. It’s a rushed, frantic mess that barely conveys enough information for you to feel comfortable. The text seems to rush by, and you’ll have to learn advanced controls on the battlefield.
There is also a problem when buying new troops. There is no explanation of how each troop works, so you simply have no choice buy to spend your perk points and learn on the fly. Each troop type has their own custom actions and range of fire, but the game gives you none of that information.
Despite its flaws, Trenches is an addictive game that requires more than throwing a dozen soldiers at your enemy. Its cartoony facade may be misleading, as this game requires strategy and quick wits. The best part is that no matter how you play, you can always try again with a new plan.