12-year-old me never saw this one coming. A game centered around "trench warfare" that's actually a blast to play? Of course that's one of the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard! How about we make your trench a walking mech, your enemy an evil scientist and his army monsters built around stacks of televisions? What's that? I must be kidding?
I'm not. Double Fine has created a game built on such a ridiculous plot that explaining it to someone that's never seen or heard of the property before is always fantastic. That said, remove all of the window dressing that surrounds the basis for Trenched and you've got a hybrid mech, third person, tower defense shooter. It's about strategy, action, accuracy and collection.
Where story's concerned, Trenched blends easygoing, humorous characters with an absurd, alternate history scenario and builds from there. You'll play one of several marines working towards eliminating the enemy as he scampers around the globe establishing base after base of TV monster hordes. The whole game centers around a signal that reached two World War I radio operators and rendered them extremely intelligent. One became your enemy, one became your commander. Have a mech, trick it out, go!
Each level takes place on a unique map that has significant relevance in the story of the game. You'll be dropped into the map and given some scrap, the game's resource unit, and a few seconds to put up some towers or turrets. Then you'll fight wave after wave of increasingly difficult bad guys. Most levels will introduce a completely new threat that you'll need to counter with either a new strategy, a new weapon or a new set of deployable. At its core, this is a well executed tower defense title.
Between missions you'll be able to spend the money you earn through scrap, kills and achievements in order to customize your marine or your mech. Customizations run the gamut of aesthetic only to gameplay changing. Customizing your mech will allow you to hold more weapons, bigger guns, run faster, reload faster, perform alternative attacks or select unique deployables. Everything you do between matches will be based on your need for the next level. So, you'll be told that there's a higher threat of snipers in your next mission and will need to equip your mech to deal with such an enemy.
A lot of the fun lies in the arena of strategy and customization. Towards the end of the game, you'll find yourself working hard to balance weapon choices with mech chassis in order to best handle each wave of enemies.
Add a ridiculously great multiplayer element to the equation and Trenched goes from good to great in a flash. You'll be able to hop into any level with friends and strangers alike whenever you want. You'll base your equipment selections on what your team is packing and work together at a cohesive level in order to clear the tough waves of baddies. The result is a thrilling, rewarding experience that makes Trenched one of the best multiplayer experiences available on the Xbox Live platform.
Double Fine has taken to the digital marketplace in a huge way ever since Costume Quest last year. Trenched stands as another wildly unique entry in their growing catalogue that deserves your attention if you have an Xbox 360 and Xbox Live.