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Review: Trenched (XBLA)

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Gamers looking for some downloadable fun on their Xbox 360s need to look no further than Double Fine Production’s Trenched, published by Microsoft Game Studios.

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The game mixes a perfect blend of third person shooting (inside of a mech) and a tower defense game. Set in an alternate world after World War I, you are under the command of Frank Woodruff, who after the war has created mechs called Trenches due to losing his legs in combat. Unfortunately for Woodruff, his old pal Vladimir Farnsworth, who has gone mad has been trying to brainwash the public using his Monovision, and it’s up to you to stop him.

Trenched is broken up into various levels spread across a handful of regions such as Europe, Africa and Pacific. In each level, the goal is to defend one or more posts while surviving an onslaught of enemies of different shapes, sizes and abilities. One minute you’re trying to take down a wave of enemies who try to destroy the structure you’re defending, while other times, you may need to defend yourself from exploding foes. There’s so much strategy involved in this game but it never gets dull. Before jumping into combat, players will find themselves atop an aircraft carrier where they’ll select their next mission and customize their Trench. You can select various types of chassis that allow for more weaponry or more emplacements, such as the Engineer chassis. Emplacements allow the player to put down turrets, satellites that slow down enemies, mine launchers and more. And of course there are weapons galore!

Each chassis also has a certain amount of placements for weapons on the Trench, which will change depending on which one you choose. Some players may want to be more aggressive with their play-style and choose a chassis that allows for a ton of guns while others may want to use more emplacements to sit back and do minimal attacking. Some of the guns take up more than one slot on the chassis, so there’s plenty of ways to go about setting up the Trench.

During each level, players will also be able to collect scrap after defeating each enemy that can be used to put down more emplacements. Additionally, after each level, players will garner experience points and cash that can unlock new weaponry and customization options.

While the game isn’t particularly long, there’s quite a bit of replayability. Trying out different chassis and weapon types is especially fun; while players can also invite up to three friends for some 4-player co-op. Playing multiplayer adds a bit more difficulty and enemies to each level but isn’t so difficult that it can’t be taken down easily. I would only hope that the developers can add some sort of horde mode in multiplayer matches to spice things up.

Graphically the game looks pretty good, with special care being put into destructible environments and each enemy’s design. What I got a kick out of most in the game however was the banter between Woodruff and Farnsworth. They don’t seem to care much for each other and the dialogue between the two is quite funny…it’s like their trash talking each other during a board game or something; either way it works.

Without question, Trenched is a game that deserves to be played by anyone with an Xbox 360. The game is simply put, 100% fun.



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