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Trenched. Or Iron Brigade. We review it.

Trenched. Or Iron Brigade. Honestly, it doesn't matter what you call it. I don't think this game really was aimed at me, seeing I don't really "get", or think there is much to get, as far as those "tower defense" games go. This might have been the Amnesia Fortnight game that interested me the least, initially.

Luckily, there's a bit more to Trenched than first meets the eye, and you'll find a bit more depth here than in your average "tower defense" game. You still defend a tower -- sometimes even towers, plural -- but here you have something closer to a traditional shooter with RTS elements baked into it. You'd be correct in thinking Brütal Legend right about now, but overall the game mechanism works quite a bit better in Trenched, where you don't have to worry too much about your hoards of cohorts.

Thumb Guns! Explosions! Jim Ward would be proud.

There's a plot here, of sort, concerning a strange broadcast heard by two war veterans and yada yada yada, gain superhuman intelligence, blah blah blah, one building mobile trenches the other a "Monovision", so on so forth, become mortal enemies... Really, the story is kind lackluster, and the characters, while nicely voiced, are forgettable. The best thing to come out of the story is a great looking introduction video, but you've probably already watched that one.

After picking your character you have the opportunity to customize your trench for each mission. As you gather upgrades, emplacements and weapons throughout, a good deal of strategy comes into play here. Choose an engineering chassis, and you'll generally get more room for emplacements -- say stationary guns and mortars and what not -- but less for weaponry. Choose a combat chassis and you'll be relying more on your equipped guns. Later on in the game you'll likely have to experiment a bit to see what fits your playing style best.

There are quite a few levels to play through, and playing time easily exceeds ten hours if you, like me, aren't The Man when it comes to these types of games.

Now, either way you look at the addition of strategy and third person style shooting, the typical problem with tower defense games is sadly present in Trenched also: This is a repetitive game. The strategy adds a bit more depth, certainly, and running back and forth shooting large guns is fun, but that's about all you do.

This could possibly have been more forgivable had the levels looked a bit more interesting, but as it is, they're just dull and drab, vaguely reminiscent in style of the onslaught of FPSs we saw almost ten years ago. Much as I found Stacking's gameplay lacking, the fun and crazy looking levels at least kept my attention span for a while.

Thumb This is a sadly drab looking game.

Trenched is a better game, and had the levels looked better -- not necessarily fun and crazy, but more in the spirit of the introduction video -- I might have been more inclined to play it for more than half an hour at a time.

In the end this isn't a bad game, but it sorely lacks the charm of the Costume Quest games which, thus far, have been the most impressive Amnesia Fortnight offerings as far as I'm concerned. Trenched is fun in small dozes, but the repetitive gameplay and dull visuals really don't add up to anything quite to the standards I expect from Double Fine.

PS: Multi-player might add a bit more to the whole picture, but lord if I know anyone who owns this game. I strongly doubt it'd add too much to the experience, but it's something to keep in mind.