Game Title: Trenched
Genre: Tower Defense/3rd Person Shooter
Developer: Double Fine
Available Platforms: Xbox Live Arcade
MSRP: 1200 MSP/$15
ESRB Rating: T
Let me begin by stating that I have a real issue with XBLA titles costing $15. Not that the extra $5 is going to change my lifestyle, but for some reason it’s a sticking point for me. It that’s the case for you and is what might be keeping you from getting Trenched, I say: “get over it”.
In my opinion the 3rd person tower defense element of Double Fine’s Brutal Legend was really poorly implemented. I would go so far as to say it make me hate the game and trade it in before I completed it. So naturally, the idea of another 3rd person tower defense game by Double Fine wasn’t exactly giving me that “Nutella Sensation”.
Clearly, DF has learned a thing or two, because Trenched is probably the best implementation of a tower defense game I’ve played. Imaging Pixeljunk Monsters (great tower defense game with co-op). Add 3rd person control of an on-field mech (which becomes fully customizable as the game progresses). Add a ranking up system kind of like CoD where you earn additional weapons/towers/mech parts/etc as you hit various kill type thresholds. Add up to 4 player co-op. And lastly toss in Double Fine’s sense of humor and you get Trenched.
This game really shines in co-op — not just on the battlefield, but also pre-deployment. To really be successful once the bullets start flying, you and your teammates need to make sure you are talking to one another in the loadout screens and be certain that you weapons/towers (aka “emplacements”) are complimentary. I mean it doesn’t make a lot of sense for your to both stock up on artillery canons if there are going to be aerial enemies (which require flak weapons).
The way the game deals out rewards, upgrades, and new monsters keeps things fresh and mission goals to achieve bronze, silver, and gold medals encourage you to return to earlier missions as you upgrade your mech to see if you can improve your rating (and earn more XP).
I’ve paid more for games that have given me less entertainment than I’ve already gotten out of the first handful of missions in Trenched. Try out the demo and see if you don’t agree.