A World War 1 themed horror game where you’re confined to trenches? The premise is certainly intriguing.
It’s unfortunate, then, that Trenches by Steelkrill Studio doesn’t quite capitalise upon it. Trapped behind enemy lines, there’s nothing that the protagonist would like to do more than escape back home to his wife and kids. But the trenches before him are labyrinthine in their design. And while there are seemingly no enemy soldiers, there are countless apparitions and other supernatural phenomena that will make him question his sanity.
Anyone that has played the likes of Slenderman will find Trenches a bit familiar. Ultimately, the goal here is to explore the trenches laid out before you and locate nine crying dolls. What complicates matters is that there’s a Silent Hill-esque enemy hunting you down. And unless you opt to disable them, there are countless jump scares, too. If you’re after a truly terrifying experience, however, you’re best leaving them on.
As you can imagine, Trenches is rather basic. You can hide from your pursuer in certain spots if you feel under threat. There’s even a gun you can find, allowing you to combat it, although ammo is extremely limited. For the most part though, it’s very easily avoided by just listening for its footsteps. Still, there’s always some tension, given that if you are caught you have to start looking for the nine dolls all over again.
In any case, the repetitive scenery not only makes the trenches hard to navigate, but also a bit bland to explore. And so for that reason you’ll probably be glad to hear that Trenches shouldn’t take you more than an hour to complete. Along the way, you’re likely to get all of the game’s trophies or achievements, too, which are generally linked to finding items such as wire cutters and a map.
It’s hard to call Trenches impressive in any way. It looks okay, the gameplay is basic but serviceable, and it’s very short. Perhaps what’s most commendable about it is its sound design, with the game effectively putting you on edge at all times. Sound is intrinsic to the experience, in fact, with the cries of the dolls you’re seeking acting as a guide. If you need a helping hand, you can even blow a whistle to make the cries a little louder for a moment, but you need to be careful as it’s a sure-fire way of giving your location away.
If you’re after a short horror experience with a grim story, you could do worse than Trenches. Leave the jump scare enabled and we dare say you’ll jump out of your skin on multiple occasions, which is somewhat entertaining. It’s impossible to wholeheartedly recommend, though, what with its basic gameplay. Once you’ve played through it to completion, there’s very little reason to return.