Iron Brigade First Look Preview -- Not Your Typical Post-WWI Alternate Reality Tower Defense ShooterBy Nikole Zivalich - Posted Mar 08, 2011
Trenched is set in an alternate reality shortly after WW1. Double Fine wanted to streamline the strategic experience combining shooting, weapons customization, and tower defense. A target and fire system is used so you can focus on what's important: stopping those damn tubes! The game will also have hats. Built on the same engine as Brutal Legend, Trenched promises to be unlike any tower defense game you've played.
Two WW1 veterans, Frank Woodrof and Vlad Farmsworth, have been affected by the war. Once the fighting stopped, life returned to how it once was. That is until a mysterious broadcast was sent out. The broadcast was powerful; it caused most people's brains to explode. Luckily, both Vlad and Frank survived, gaining vast knowledge and super brains. With their new found brain power they created the "miraculous machines."
Frank lost his legs in WW1. "War may have crushed my legs, but it didn't crush my spirit." He built trenches with legs to help soldiers who lost limbs be mobile. Rather than helping others move across the world, Vlad wanted to bring the world to them. He also invented the TV, years before it actually was. He is somewhat of a Russian Dr. Wily, bent on making sure everyone only had one channel, his, by laying cables across the world. Vlad used his army of television monsters to attack the trenches. The enemies are called "tubes," a derogatory word much like BSG's "toasters."
Gameplay takes place in trenches with the Mobile Trench Brigade. The game follows a philosophy of "the only way to get hurt in a trench is to get out of the trench." So how do you play a game without leaving the trench?" By putting legs on it, of course. Trenched is similar to Brutal Legend in that it combines different genres; it's a tower defense shooter with RPG elements, and hats.
Your base, the S.S McKinley, is where you decide what to place in the weapons slots. A variety of turrets, cannons, and other weapons can be selected to place on the battlefield as defenses. If you want to play more offensively, you can run and gun on the trench itself. You have complete freedom over how you want to play, tower defense or shooter. I prefer a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B.
There are four characters to choose from, all of them are named after the last surviving veterans from World War 1. Your main goal is to protect the giant ship behind you. Dying doesn't mean game over. Once your life bar is depleted, you can repair you trench. You don't lose until the ship has been compromised. Winning a battle will earn players a loot box filled with random items. Some of the items include guns, other weapons, trench legs, and hats. The hats serve no real purpose and are purely cosmetic, but you want one. In fact, you want them all.
Enemies come in waves and in a wide variety. Your basic tubes just try to infiltrate your trench but more advanced ones, like Blitzers, will target you specifically. Enemies also have their own battle cries, letting players know where the baddies are coming from even when they aren't in the camera's view. Trenched is a game best played with a friend or three. You can play the campaign with up to four-player co-op. If you do play co-op, you'll get the same story but the amount of enemies will be increased to balance gameplay.
Unlike other tower defense games, Trenched is entirely third person. Gamers will always feel like they are a part of the action rather than just controlling the action from up above. The top down camera angle does offer a lot more control, but efforts were made to make sure even from the third-person perspective gamers would be able to have control over the whole battlefield.
The art style of the game is reminiscent of an old post-WWII men's magazine. These periodicals were often over-the-top with masculinity. Double Fine made sure the ridiculous amount of testosterone was the focus, and removed much of era's racism and sexism often seen in the mags. This was done in an overall effort to "turn no man's land into real man's land."
Since the current game's market is a bit over-saturated with war games Double Fine had to make sure their's didn't blend in visually. Obvious, effort was made to avoid the monochromatic brown tones we often see. Instead, there are bright hues throughout the game. The enemies have electricity running through them and are bright colors; usually blue and red. Destroying them leaves pieces of leftover televisions called scraps. These are used to make more weapons or upgrade the ones already on the map.
Trenched is coming to XBLA later this year.