Game Reviews


Star onStar onStar onStar halfStar off
| Trenches
| Trenches

Trenches puts you in command of British forces during the First World War and tasks you with pushing German troops out of occupied France with flicks of a finger.

Riflemen, snipers, machine gunners, and mortar crews are directed within side-scrolling battlefields dotted with barbed wire and trenches. Deploying from the left, reaching the farthest point to the right of the battlefield where the enemy spawns is your primary objective.

Money fuels your battle efforts. Each second that ticks by drops dollars in your account that can be used to purchase troops and artillery. In addition, the more ground you capture, the greater your earnings.

Along with the four aforementioned troop types, you can order poison gas and artillery bombardments using cash. You can only call forth one reinforcement at a time, though, each unit saddled with a recharge rate. This prevents you from commissioning a glut of forces and rushing your opponent on the battlefield:strategy is required.

Money, money, money

Chief among concerns is unit management. Deciding how to spend your money is the most crucial factor in determining victory. Cheap riflemen are quickly called to duty, but easily torn to shreds by enemy machine guns and mortar.

More powerful machine gunners and artillery strikes cost more, however, so it's a matter of balancing finances against ferocity.

Also critical to success are the positions taken on the field. Trenches provide greater defence than fighting out in the open: conversely, it's difficult to rout enemies camping out in one. You're encouraged to go on the offensive when occupying trenches, while avoiding combat when moving through barbed fencing since it slows units to a crawl as they carefully weave through coils of razor wire.

Often this means not blindly rushing forward to meet your foe. Instead, holding units back and amassing a small batch of forces that push the enemy back one trench at a time plays to the game's balancing. Furthermore, saving up for expensive artillery strikes capable of obliterating a handful of units in one swoop demands tactical prudence.

The middle ground

Straightforward without being shallow - Trenches accomplishes the difficult task of making real-time strategy accessible. Sadly, a limited selection of modes prevents the game from truly capitalising on its winning gameplay.

Campaign and Skirmish modes, which both come in Easy, Medium, and Hard levels of difficulty, provide a good foundation, but more is needed. Multiplayer in some form should be here - local most definitely, whereas online would be preferred.

Competitive and cooperative battles would bring greater value to the game, not to mention leverage the battle system to great effect.

An opportunity has also been lost in forcing play of only the British. Other factions ought to be included, particularly those aligned with the Central Powers. French, American, German, Ottoman, and Russian armies are possibilities, each possessing a unique unit or advantageous quality such as greater movement speed or more powerful machine gunners.

This would infuse Trenches with more depth and provide variety across all modes of play (including absentee multiplayer modes). Thunder Game Works has the right approach, but needs to dig deeper to put Trenches over the top.


A clever strategy game that needs additional modes and factions to complement its accessibility with depth