Get in your trench, marine!
Trenched is a love letter to the old MechWarrior games. Even though the walking mechanized trenches are never called mechs at any point in Trenched, it is clear that this is the modern-day equivalent of that much beloved series.
The world we know is somewhat different in Trenched. At some point in wartime, a mysterious signal was broadcast upon the world. Only two radio operators survived after listening to that signal, and both of them gained unbound scientific knowledge. Knowledge is power and power usually corrupts, and so it happened that one of them decided to use his newly discovered knowledge for evil, by turning TVs into armies of monsters in order to take over the world while the other came up with a way to give wounded soldiers a way to walk again via mechanical legs called trenches.
Unlike mech games, though, Trenched isn't just a super-powered robot game. Underneath the wealth of customization options and loot to pick from, there's a very fun and chaotic tower defense game. Waves of enemies try to destroy a number of strategic structures during most of the missions and it's your job to keep them away.
Different from most tower defense games, though, you're able to fight the opposition directly with your robot, but like these games, you're also given the choice to place offensive and defensive units on the field. These units use the scrap you pick up from fallen enemies as currency, so a healthy mix of direct and indirect fighting is a must during most of the missions.
The campaign takes you to three different regions of the world, all of which presents increasingly difficult missions. Objectives range from defending two opposing sides of a map to taking the fight to the enemy and defeating huge boss monsters. The difficulty ramps up at a steady pace, following your gear and stat evolution. Double Fine throws us a bone during mission prep time by suggesting certain options, but it's completely up to you how to prepare for a level.
There is a metric gigaton of options to mix and match with. Gear - shotguns, artillery, machine guns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, and broadcast antennae - can be placed at your leisure as long as the chassis allows. On top of that, the chassis comes in three types - assault, engineering, and standard - and the same goes for defending structures called emplacements - technical units, light and heavy turrets. Loot can be bought at the store with the money you earn from missions, but the best gear you can get, by far, is the items the Monovision enemies drop. Look out for the purples ones; they're the most powerful and destructive.
This wouldn't be a Double Fine game if there wasn't some sort of quirky feature to mess around with, so they were sure not to forget about your pilot. Depending on the piece of gear you equip your marine with, he'll throw a different salute to other soldiers will be in between missions. Yes, the salute is silly and useless, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
It's always a good idea to bring friends along for co-op and in that regard Trenched gives in spades. Every mission can be played solo or with up to three other trench pilots seamlessly. Thanks to a great matchmaking system that makes note of who you play with, forming a regiment with your friends at arms is a breeze.
It's hard not to be completely enamored with Trenched. It's got tons of personality and quality content. Even so, it's clear that it's missing a number of key features that would make it even better. There's no option to save equipment loadouts, which slows things down during the planning stages in-between levels. The lack of an on-screen map is also annoying due to how the enemy generators are placed on the map, making it difficult to keep track of where monsters are coming from.
Even with these problems, Trenched is still one hell of a game. There are tons of loot options and load-outs to try in missions that freely allow you to mix and match strategies to your liking. It's a huge amount of fun to bring friends over to your game in order to go for just another gold medal. The extensive stat tracking will have you coming back repeatedly. This is yet another awesome Double Fine game that should not be ignored.