Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4, iPad 2
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Seriously, there are way too many World War 2 games. Trenches 2 is pretty much a response to fact, taking place in World War 1. Players lead either the British, German, or French campaigns across the European fronts. The whole affair is very cartoony and not very serious, especially considering the big sheepishly devious grins on all the soldiers' faces. Those looking for a harrowing take on the horrors of war should look elsewhere.
As the title indicates, trench warfare is the name of the game here - the goal being to reach the enemy's base and destroy it, by advancing from cover point to cover point. This is real-time strategy mixed with path management a la Flight Control – players draw lines for the units to travel to. Coins are generated over time that help pay for units and airstrikes. There are basic riflemen, machine gunners, medics, flamethrower units, and engineers, who can help turn trenches into full-fledged bases that new units can be summoned from. Perk points, either earned by completing missions or through in-app purchases, can be used to unlock new units or to upgrade existing units.
With the basic elements of path management for unit movement, Trenches 2 is easy to get into for those not into hardcore real-time strategy games. There's plenty of content, with dozens of missions between the three campaigns. The game also takes great advantage of the difference between iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad screen sizes; levels in the latter HD version are bigger with more vertical room, which helps to change player strategies. It's an interesting wrinkle that more games should implement. Online multiplayer has also been implemented, with both versus and co-op modes across three game types via Game Center.
The primary issue with the controls is that units close together are difficult, if not impossible to move separately; this can be a pain when trying to move riflemen out of a trench while leaving the engineer improving the trench, or in any other situation where units are clustered together. This is an issue even on the iPad version of the game, which seems silly because there is plenty of room on the screen for this to not be an issue. Zooming options would have helped.
Trenches 2 is a great way to enjoy some real-time strategy in a very user-friendly way. While controls are still an occasional issue due to screen size, the gameplay is still engrossing enough for anyone who's a fan of games like Plants vs. Zombies to check this one out. Similar elements like choosing a limited load-out of units form a larger selection are also here, so there are layers of strategy, with it all still feeling very manageable, even for more twitch-based gamers. Especially with EA's $0.99 holiday sales, this is well worth checking out.