Trenches II - Drenched with Content
For those of you unfamiliar with the original Trenches (which was pulled when Trenches II was released) Trenches was a game set in World War I and combined real time strategy with line drawing. The original got popular on iTunes after a few updates, and played a lot like Trenches II does now, but unfortunately there is no endless mode, as there was in the original Trenches.
Trenches II is very similar to the original and is also set in World War I, but takes a lot of what Trenches II did right, and improves it. This includes improved graphics, AI, and much more content than its predecessor. The biggest part of what makes Trenches II fun, is the perk system which provides a motive to keep playing the campaign mode.
Perks allow you to unlock new units; upgrade units' health, speed, etc..; and upgrade income, and other bonuses. There are more than forty perks for offensive, defensive, or support and different types of perks for each faction. Perk points are unlocked by completing campaign levels and can also be bought with in-app purchases. I have not yet had the need or want to buy these perk points, so don't worry about hitting a wall at which you'd need to buy points.
Battles are what makes up the bulk of Trenches II, if you're familiar with the original you'll know exactly how to play these battles. Before the start of every battle you're presented with the option to use perk points to upgrade units and what not if you have the perk points, and you can also choose which units you want to use for the battle. When you start the battle, you're placed at the left side of the battlefield, and the enemy on the right with fog of war blocking your view. Your goal is to make your way to the right side and shoot down his base, simple right? Well, not when you have enemy units you have to get through. You spawn units with buttons on the bottom of the screen and you scroll from left to right, simple by swiping on the background at the top half of the screen. Units are manipulated by dragging a line from the unit to where you want them to go, similar to a line drawing game. You must strategically defend your base by placing them in trenches or behind cover when defending, then advance when you have enough units or there is a hole, to ensure a win. To advance all your units simply swipe two fingers to the right, and viola, they're charging! Playing this on an iPad feels perfect for the device and there is plenty of room to do exactly what you want, with minimal UI blocking the screen.
Units make up your army and there are plenty of them. Having more than ten unique units really adds to the variety of the gameplay and trying to unlock and upgrade them all makes the campaign much more fun than it normally would be, obviously. Trenches II takes all of the units from the original and adds to the list. Here's a list of units with short descriptions.
-Rifleman: Basic unit with three soldiers that shoot semi-automatic weapons.
-Sniper: Long range unit with one sniper.
-Tank: Slow and expensive tank with a high damage output.
-Engineer: Single engineer that can build and upgrade trenches to provide better means of defense.
-Flamer: Single soldier that shoots flames at close range.
-Spy: Single spy with the ability to go invisible to see what the enemy is doing.
-Calvary: Fast and expensive horseman with the ability to charge.
-Machine Gunner: Squad of two with one machine gun.
-Medic: Single medic that heals units around him.
-Grenadier: Mortar team that can launch grenades at long range.
There's also a few different air support types to make the battles even more varying. Air support are expensive, one time use bonuses you can use to get rid of a group of enemy units.
Campaign, Skirmish, and Multiplayer are the three different modes available to you in the game. Campaign mode is just what you'd expect. At the beginning of the campaign you select a faction, British, French, or German. These factions give different bonuses and perk selections for the campaign. The campaign map is done extremely well. It allows you to choose one of two battles to fight, therefore allowing you to try another battle if you get stuck. By the looks of it, the main goal of the campaign is to get to a certain destination on the map in order to win the campaign. Getting to this destination requires you to battle at least twenty battles, but there is the option to play more than 50 side battles as you go along. Skirmish mode is just one battle against the AI, and allows you to choose a battle type, (king of the trench, last man standing, or supremacy) map, battlefield length, difficulty, factions, and units to use. Online Multiplayer is done through GameCenter but unfortunately I was not able to test it out due to no-one being online any time I've wanted to try it.
The graphics are crisp and unrealistic while the sound effects such as gun shots are realistic, this plays like a really good combination and makes the game, for me, awesome. Unfortunately, though, there is no 'flip screen' option which is unwise to leave out of any game, in my opinion.
Achievements, like EA's other games, are not done through GameCenter, even though it's implemented for multiplayer. Origin is, in fact, in the game but I've not yet had a reason to care about using Origin for anything. The game does include in-game achievements, which makes it odd that it's not implemented in GameCenter.
I didn't like Trenches II for the first few levels since they felt quite boring and seemed, to me, like a repeat of the original, but after playing a bit more I can honestly say that I recommend this game, for the iPad at least. Although there is a lack of a few quite needy things, I give this a solid, two thumbs up.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (The lack of a few things such as GameCenter achievements and an option to flip the screen stops this from being a perfect game.)