OXCGN’s Trenched XBLA Review: A Gem in No Man’s Land

trenched xbla

Trenched XBLA Review

A Gem in No Man’s Land

by exterminat

©2011 Nicholas Laborde

World War I is a topic that gaming has generally avoided.

Not because of the brutality of war, the unrelenting fight those brave men fought, or the atrocities that come with conflict.

It’s an avoided subject because it’s something that gaming has extreme trouble making entertaining, simply because of how similar the entire war was.

Stay in your trench. Survive bombardment. Fight off the charge. When the enemy retreats, take their trench. If failure, retreat.

Wash, rinse and repeat.

Thankfully, Tim Schafer’s genius studio Double Fine has created their own alternate take on the war, Trenched, and it’s a gem in no man’s land.

It’s a wartime effort

Trenched is a title about trench warfare. Quit your whining, soldier! You didn’t let me finish.

See, you are in fact inside of a trench… but it’s a moving trench. Actually, let me clarify: it’s a moving trench that allows even the most wounded of soldiers to take up the fight, because it’s a walking, robotic trench that can be outfitted with all kinds of weaponry.

Wartime research led to this development after soldiers were getting hurt, but still wanted to fight the good fight.

• Trenched XBLA screenshot slideshow

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After World War I, a mysterious broadcast was sent around the world and caused untold numbers of people to die. Two veterans, Frank Woodruff and Vladamir Farnsworth, happen to survive the Broadcast and mysteriously gain knowledge of very advanced technologies.

Frank, a vet who lost his legs in battle, creates the mobile trench, the feature of the title; Vladamir, on the other hand, creates something called the Monovision so people can see the world from anywhere.

Vladamir, as with all Russians, becomes insane by his own invention, and becomes hell-bent on world conquest. Creating an army of robotic Monovision creatures, Frank’s “Mobile Trench Brigade” answers the call and leads the counterattack.

It’s a story up to that classic Double Fine standard, and you’ll more than once crack a smile or find yourself chuckling at the excellent writing.

Let’s rally the troops

Trenched is a conglomerate of both the third person shooter and tower defense genres. Gameplay takes place from the perspective of one of four characters, and revolves around defending key objects from destruction, arriving in waves of different enemies that vary in attack and weakness.

Your trench is fully customizable, with many different chassis to choose from that affect both weapon selection and emplacement capabilities.

Each trench chassis has a set number of weapon slots, and different weapons take up different amounts of slots.

Weaponry ranges from the pitter-pattering classic WWI machine guns to creatively altered flak cannons, mortar bombings and even snipers. Every type of gameplay style is catered to, and the possibilities are endless.

With each chassis comes different options for emplacements (this is where the tower defense comes in), such as machine gun turrets, shotgun turrets, and anti-air emplacements among many others. In order to build all of these, you collect metal from the bodies of dead enemies, and use it to construct and upgrade all of your emplacements.

At the end of each mission (of which there are plenty), you are awarded cash with which to buy new weapons, emplacements and chassis.

You can also play all of the scenarios with up to three other players cooperatively, and the game adjusts accordingly.

It’s a game that has just the right amount of difficulty, but allows you to enter into a world of not only laughs, but of fun.

So enlist today!

Trenched, to reiterate, is a gem in no man’s land.

From the creative storyline and witty writing, to the simple-yet-intriguing gameplay and in-depth customization, Trenched is something you shouldn’t miss.

Double Fine has yet again managed to create something so small, yet so engulfing.

For $15, the price is just right; pick it up on Xbox Live Marketplace today.

OXCGN Gold Award


©2011 Nicholas Laborde


• Trenched XBLA screenshot gallery

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I'm an American from steamy Louisiana, one of the most electronically deprived areas of the United States. I've gamed since I was four years old as a result, and plan to do it onto my deathbed. I discovered I could write in June of 2010 when I started a little site called Fans of The Genre with a few friends, and that eventually collapsed three months after due to social lives kicking in. No less than two weeks after that I discovered OXCGN via the community gamer gab competition, and become a staff member shortly after. In February of 2011 I was welcomed to the Editorial staff, then in March of 2012 I was promoted to co-owner... and here I am!

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