Steam Greenlight Spotlight: Trench
Today’s Greenlight spotlight is on Trench, an underwater 2.5D shooter developed by Howling Hamster Games. Trench caught my eye because it’s neat visuals and the idea of a shooting game based around a submarine. I’ve always been a fan of underwater environments in games, and there aren’t many games that choose it as their overall theme. However, Trench makes fantastic use of the underwater landscapes, and creates a visually-pleasing and fun experience.
My first experience with Trench was admittedly a bit frustrating. I found the rotation of the ship to be difficult to get the hang of, and I kept finding myself wishing that the throttle was bound to the right stick rather than the A button. However, after about an hour of play, and many deaths because of my incompetence, I began to understand what Howling Hamster were going for when they designed the control scheme. Once you are able to get the hang of the controls, it is clear that the ship’s ability to rotate in all directions makes movement much simpler and helps to make those quick turns necessary to strafe around the enemies as you are firing on them. I found myself easily able to dodge and kite enemies so that I could get a good shot on them, and I really began to fall in love with the control system of the game. Trench is definitely a bit wonky when you first get into it, but give the game a bit of time and you will definitely realize what they were going for and notice how well it works in combination with the game.
In terms of gameplay objectives, Trench puts you in the cockpit of a ship that is tasked with exploring wreckage and defeating monsters with the ultimate goal of reaching the meteor that brought these creatures to Earth in the first place. On your journey, you will encounter piles of scrap that appear as pings accompanied by a nice sonar sound-effect on your map. These wrecks contain useful items such as flares, gun upgrades, mines, which makes visiting all of them a priority if you want to survive for any length of time in the unforgiving ocean of Trench. Along your journey, you will encounter several different forms of monsters that will attack on sight. This is where the movement system really shines, as the fluidity of the controls allows for precise movement in battle and prevents any unfair collisions or deaths. Between each level, you will have the ability to upgrade or repair your ship at trading posts. Having the ability to upgrade your ship will definitely help keep the game fresh for me, and I hope to see a wide variety of potential upgrades to choose from. Finally, Trench will challenge you with difficult puzzles to solve, involving things such as determining the best route to take, or overcoming a particularly difficult encounter.
All in all, Trench is a really solid shooter that has some fantastic ideas, and manages to execute a very precise and fun movement system that I imagined would have ended up being frustrating. I am a huge fan of the underwater atmosphere that the game showcases, especially the fantastic sound effects that I heard in the demo level. I hope to see more features and levels added in the future, as well as some further enemy variety. If you like the sound of Trench, and would like to give it a go, be sure to check out their demo. Finally, if you are interesting in having a look at Trench’s Greenlight page, you can find that here. Definitely consider leaving a vote and some constructive feedback as well. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: feedback is crucial to the development process. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind with criticisms and suggestions that you feel could improve the gameplay experience.