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iPhone App Video Review: Trenches II

by Andrew Koziara

The original Trenches was a fresh and unique take on real time strategy games, and was quite a rare gem at the time. Thunder Game Works has now returned with a sequel simply titled Trenches II, only this time around they’ve been picked up by Electronic Arts. This would indicate that everything would be bigger and better than ever, and that’s mostly true, but in some cases, bigger isn’t necessarily better.

This is a simple concept done very well. It’s basically a side scrolling real time strategy game, with different units and special abilities at your disposal. As you guide your troops across the battlefield, you’ll utilize trenches as well as carts, sandbags, shacks, and whatever else you can find as cover. Trenches can be claimed for your side and fortified up, serving as a forward spawn point. There’s a lot of basic strategy to consider, and you can approach most missions any way you want. There are more units and powers than ever, which keeps things from getting stale.

As with the original, the point of the game is to play through a simplified World War, and this time around you can take charge of British, German, and even French armies. Ha! French armies! Each campaign has you push the frontline towards the enemy capitol, with several branching paths and missions. Completing a campaign mission will result in some perk points, which can be applied to classic talent trees to unlock new units and abilities or upgrades to existing ones. Anything you unlock will need to be unlocked for every army separately, and these unlocks carry over to the other modes, so you’ll have to beat the game with each army to have access to everything. You can also purchase perk points in-app if you’re feeling lazy.

Other game modes include Skirmish and Multiplayer. Skirmish mode lets you take on the computer in a variety of game modes, such as Supremacy, which is just a normal match. King of the Trench asks you to hold one specific trench longer than the enemy, and Last Man Standing gives each side limited resources to destroy each other. There are 11 maps to choose from and plenty of settings to tweak to your liking. You can also take the game online in local WiFi or global online multiplayer with matchmaking courtesy of Game Center. Being an EA game, other online support is linked to their exclusive Origin service.

The game’s art is crisp and better than ever, the layouts and user interface are streamlined, and the music, sound effects, and hilarious voices of each unit are very well done. The game does have some technical issues and some features that don’t work so smoothly. Some of the levels are a bit too long to the point of being boring. I guess you can have too much of a good thing. Either way, this is still a great iteration to replace the original, and it can be yours for two dollars. No really, it’s replaced the original, you can’t even find it on the App Store anymore. At the time of this review anyway. How sad…

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