Battle a zombie army in iPhone game Stenches

Dec 2, 2010

Stenches: A Zombie Tale of Trenches, the oddly-named zombiefied version of Trenches, makes for a fun app game experience. Its side-scrolling strategy isn’t particularly deep, but the ability to pick up and play the game fairly quickly works as a draw, rather than a detriment.

Stenches has two main game modes. In the first, you use money to buy and build up an army to fight off zombies that are threatening your base camp. Your goal is to survive as many waves of zombies as you can before you inevitably succumb. In the other mode, you try to advance your army as far across the playing field as you can. You can purchase various artillerymen and air strikes using both the initial cash you get when you start playing, and the coins you collect from the apparently quite wealthy zombies you shoot down.

The trick to the strategy of Stenches is knowing how to pick the right mix of soldiers for your money. Again, it’s not exactly rocket science, but the way you allot your money goes a long way toward ensuring your survival or demise. It’s a good gameplay system, at any rate, and even includes smart caveats to make the game slightly more strategic, like not allowing you to re-up specific infantrymen until a time meter has recharged. That essentially forces you to vary your troops or  else sit and wait for the recharge to finish as you are slowly eaten by the undead.

It is not a particularly forgiving app. On the medium difficulty, even the first level will knock out first-time players fairly quickly. It takes time and a bit of patience to understand the best way to attack. But the game is fun enough that players should want to keep playing, instead of throwing the game down in frustration.

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Visually, Stenches is a treat, as well. It has a cartoonish animation and coloring style that is also surprisingly detailed. The skies, in particular, look fantastic, and the depth of colors and shading look great.

About the only frustrating aspect of Stenches is its control scheme. You’re supposed to move your army by swiping your finger left or right across the screen. It’s too easy, however, to accidentally swipe backward, which sends them heading in the opposite direction. So there’s an awful lot of needless back and forth that would be helped with some sort of on-screen movement button.

Control issues aside, Stenches: A Zombie Tale of Trenches is a fun, challenging app that fans of strategy games should enjoy. It’s not particularly deep, but it is hard, and has plenty of game for the buck it costs to play.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.


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