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Trenches II Review
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Trenches II, the follow-up to the WWI-themed castle defense title developed by Thunder Game Works and published by EA, is now available from the app store. Though it offer much of the same as the original, there are enough improvements that allow Trenches II to stand on its own.

Trenches II Pros:

  • Cartoonish graphics and plenty of cover-based objects in the battlefield
  • Crisp militaristic theme musics and plenty of sound effects
  • Simple tap and line-drawing controls make the game accessible to all gamers
  • Online multiplayer, as well as a lengthy campaign and skirmish options

Trenches II Cons:

  • Selecting specific units within large groupings is difficult
  • Origin network is not our favorite

You select from the French, German, or British armies as you go head-to-head with another faction, protecting your base while pressing forward to destroy theirs. Pre-dug trenches act as major advantages to your offensive game, providing cover while the enemy is exposed and an opportunity to create a forward base from which new troops with appear. There are a variety of troop types to be used in battle, though each costs a certain amount of gold to deploy. Gold is earned at a slow and steady pace throughout the game, as well as in reward for kills and other combat-related successes. There are a dozen-and-a-half squad types (such as riflemen, snipers, machine gunners, and engineers) and a handful of fire support units (like air strikes and recon) at your disposal, though you can only take a total of 6 into any given battle. This forces you to make a strategic decision from the get-go, and that won’t be the only one.

Actual battles play out in side-scrolling fashion, requiring you to tap on a unit type at the screen bottom to deploy, provided you have enough gold. These units will continue to walk across the map until you direct them using line-drawing mechanics. There are several objects in the war zone which can act as cover, and the fog of war keeps you from seeing too far ahead of your current position so that pressing on to the next cover point leaves you with a chance that you’ll get caught out in the open. The ability to push the fog of war back further is just one of the many perks available for purchase through perk points earn for successful battles. These upgrades come in offensive, defensive, and support varieties, giving you the ability to apply them in the most beneficial ways to bolster your unique strategies. Units fire on each other automatically, and each has strengths and weaknesses to take into consideration when battling.

Graphically, Trenches II looks pretty much the same as the original, offering a cartoonish flair and smiling happy faces that are a little out of place for the Great War. Regardless, it’s a style that offers polish and simplicity, though identifying one squad from another could be a little easier if they didn’t all have the same general look. The audio is clear, with a militaristic-themed soundtrack and plenty of wartime sound effects to create a battle-like atmosphere. Controls require taps to deploy troops and utilize special abilities (making engineers reinforce bunkers, etc.). Dragging from troops to the desired location will cause them to follow your finger’s path. Dragging the skyline will pan forward or backward.  The controls work very well except when trying to select a specific group from a larger mob.

Replay value is very good, with a lengthy campaign utilizing forking paths to minimize the linear complaints. There is also a Skirmish mode and online multiplayer featuring both versus and co-op flavors. Multiple difficulty levels allow you to tailor the experience to your liking (we’ve found Easy to be a great way for newbies to get involved without getting frustrated). GameCenter is used for matchmaking only, with EA’s Origin network handling the brunt of the social gaming aspects. Currently on holiday sale for $0.99 (also $0.99 for the HD version), Trenches II is a solid 4-Dimple game.

Trenches II Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-12-28T00:16:00+00:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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