Double Fine is at it again, this time bringing us an Xbox Live Arcade exclusive! Trenched is a tower defense game that allows you a place on the battlefield as you defend key objectives as well as, protect Frank Woodruff from Vladimir Farnsworth, and his evil signal.
The goal of this game is to find Farnsworth by fighting off waves of increasingly harder enemies as you go through the various levels. If you think you're just going to jump in and start shooting I'd rethink that plan as each level has a strategy. Its up to you to customize your trench and figure out what works best but if you find things a little tough, you can play the campaign alongside 3 of your friends. If your friends aren't online or didn't purchase this title you have the option to use the multi-player feature to find 3 suitable team mates for you. Keep in mind however, that the more people in the game, the harder the enemies become.
The controls of this game are pretty straight forward, using your triggers for shooting and your sticks to maneuver around objects, all the while not being able to jump, you may find that things can get a little tense. Only after you acquire certain legs for your trench are you able to run by equipping them and holding the "A" button while moving in a certain direction. You are only able to run in a straight line however and you don't always stop running when you release the "A" button which can be a little annoying. You may find or unlock other sets of legs that may benefit you, but jumping isn't one of them. Other than this small quirk the game play mechanics are just "ok".
Customization is a key element in Trenched, from weapons, to upgrades for your trench, and even outfits for your character. There are a few different ways to upgrade your trench and character like completing challenges such as, get so many kills using a certain type of weapon, or by killing so many of a certain type of enemy. In doing so, you will obtain cash which can be spent at the in game store, or you may find rare weapons that can't be bought like the Gungnir, a very large sniper canon and also the most powerful weapon in the game or the "king", a very large and useful artillery canon. Aside from this way to obtain weapons and cash you can also complete story related missions. The above mentioned weapons are just a very small taste of some of the main weapons you can equip but some of the other things you can add to your trench are various forms of offensive, defensive and support turrets.
Your support turrets include a repair crane to fix up your trench, a collection pod to collect the scrap your enemies drop (which you need to build turrets) and then you have a dampening generator which slows your enemies down if you are feeling overwhelmed with the slew of enemies headed your way. Next you have your heavy turrets which include a very useful mortar and a sniper turret among other things, and lastly you have your light turrets, where you will find your flak turrets, machine gun turrets and shotgun turrets. So because of all of the great ways to obtain items and rank up, the replay value of this game is endless (especially if you are a loot junkie like me) bringing you back for more as you try to obtain the best items to turn your trench into an unstoppable mechanical juggernaut.
The graphics are definitely a lot better than expected for an arcade title. While every level takes place outside each one is unique and different from the one previous. The scenery, because of the colors, can get a little boring but the explosions from killing your enemies make up for that, as some of the tougher guys explode causing a volcano of scrap and sometimes items for you to pick up. New enemies are introduced periodically also making your journey interesting, however, you will find they are all somewhat similar by way of their color with the exception of 1 or 2 types.
Overall, if you can get past the limited movement of your trench, the drab color scheme, and the annoying voice over, Trenched is a fun game that can occupy you for hours by collecting loot, leveling up and killing your way to the top. Very rarely do we ever get the chance to kill hundreds of enemies with big ****ing guns but if you are looking for exactly that and you haven't had a chance to try it, it is definitely worth the MS points just for the replay value alone.