Some war games are a bit of a cerebral, obnoxious snoozefest. Super Trench Attack, on the other hand, doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest. Instead, it dumps things like serious plotlines and thought-provoking themes in the trenches as it charges into No Man’s Land in its undies. Originally released on the PC in 2014 by Retro Army Limited, this is yet another indie title that’s brought the fight to Nintendo’s home turf. Even after six years, it’s chock-filled with entertaining gunfights and slapstick bravado, which mostly makes up for its jankiness.
The game is a parody of World War I. The Black Army is invading your precious homeland, and you need to help the Green Army thwart their attacks. Paired up with your mute, gasmask-wearing mate, your task is to repel the invasion at all costs. Even if some of the writing suffers from some iffy spelling and grammar, it’s a genuinely funny title. The dialogue and quips are witty and goofy, much like some of the animations that play during the cutscenes and game over screens. Even if the pixel art graphics look like budget commissions from Twitter, the animations are up to snuff, and some of the facial expressions that an enemy makes when they get shot or have their clothes sliced off with a melee attack is good for a chuckle.
One thing that should be made clear from the get-go is about the controls. They feel sluggish and floaty. An educated guess would be that the analogue controls are simply emulating a mouse. Rather than merely tilting where you want to aim, you need to move the cursor and point it at, or behind, an enemy. Look, it doesn’t break the game by any stretch of the mark – it just feels a bit awkward, certainly when the cursor is moved over the mini-map on the bottom corner of the screen. You can’t shoot anyone unless you move it away, or close said map.
While it can make tossing grenades in the right spot a tad challenging, it allows for some precise aiming, perfect for shooting mines, scoring headshots, and even stunning opponents by blasting their feet. Black Army soldiers are usually armed with pistols and rifles, though the deadlier ones come with boomsticks, gatling guns, and frags. Expect cannons and tanks as well. While dying is but a mere setback – you can conveniently respawn in the general area if you flubbed up, or haul yourself back to HQ to stock up again – a sizable amount of opposition awaits in each mission.
Generally speaking, the gunfights are pretty fun, even if the arsenal is fairly limited in size. While you’ve got various grenade types, as well as decoys and mines, you can only equip a pistol and rifle, and even then they feel pretty familiar to one another. Stronger variants with bigger clips are purchasable, much like upgrades and armour. Loot and gold can be acquired during missions or solo explorations, and you can even blow it all in a few games of blackjack.
The bulk of the game has you taking on numerous tasks for the war effort, which tend to involve clearing out bunkers full of enemies, destroying tanks, acquiring top secret documents, and the occasional boss battle in between. A fair bit of backtracking is required, though usually it’s nothing strenuous, and there are plenty of trenches to help you quick-travel around, thus making travel far less tedious.
Boss encounters tend to be a fair fight. Some will put you against some of the Black Army generals in vehicles, which can be decimated with enough explosives. A few encounters take place during a rail shooter minigame, which has you dragging the cursor over the enemies and bosses that sporadically pop out of cover. Nothing too complex, but entertaining nonetheless.Oh, what a lovely war! Super Trench Attack is a wappy shooter with some enjoyable combat and a great sense of humour. It’s undeniable that the controls are a tad iffy, and the lack of a sizable army is disappointing. Although, things like the on-rail shooting segments, gambling tent and the incredibly convenient fast-travel zones does sweeten the deal here. Thing is, even with the aforementioned issues in mind, this cheap indie title was a real corker, warts and all. It may not be lengthy or thoroughly polished, but rest assured, it‘s worth every war bond.
Review code supplied by PixelHeart.