Stenches: A Zombie Tale of Trenches in Review – World War 2 reimagined… with zombies!

One of the relatively new genres, brought about by the explosion of all sorts of casual games, both on the iDevice and PC, is Action Strategy. Though it seems the two genres are so different that it should be impossible even to imagine such a perverted marriage, developers prove time and time again that nothing is impossible. Quite some time ago I reviewed Avatar of War (TMA Review) – one offspring of this unholy union and was left thoroughly satisfied by the casual but fun experience it provided. And today we’ll take a look at Stenches: A Zombie Tale of Trenches, an original re-imagination of World War 2 as the fight against Nazi zombies.

Stenches (Thunder Game Works’ follow up to Trenches), is almost a typical Action/Strategy, a kind of a cross between Castle Conflict and Castle Defense varieties. You take upon yourself the role of an Allied commander, managing forces to hold the fort against the Nazis’ latest secret weapon in the form of, you guessed it, zombies.

The basics of the genre are all here – you spend cash to grow your forces, send them out to combat the waves of enemy forces. As you eliminate the zombies, they leave behind cash that can be used to grow new forces. But Stenches doesn’t stop here and instead builds upon this basic concept by adding troop movement and trench upgrades. First of all, if you simply try to scatter your forces in plain sight they will be quickly overrun. Hiding them in the trenches on the battlefield however goes a long way towards ensuring their survivability. And to further increase your chances to withstand the horde you can spend some of that cash you earned to upgrade the trenches to house more troops and provide more protection.

The units on both sides of the front are quite distinct and appear to have their uses in each situation. At least at first glance. On the enemy side you’ll find almost every kind of zombie imaginable… and even some unimaginable ones! From the common shambling footsoldi…zombie to the stinky ones releasing clouds of deadly gas upon their demise to the huge brute, throwing pieces of debris from afar and able to make short work of even the most defended bunker up close and personal.

From the allied side of the story you’ll the more conventional lineup, from the rifle brigade and shotgun-wielding engineer to sniper, machine gun unit and grenade launcher units. There is a simple RPG system with your units gaining ranks as they eliminate the undead with some unknown upgrade of their abilities. And as a last resort there is always the artillery support, that can be called upon any spot on the battlefield. Unfortunately I found the unit balance a bit off and couldn’t see any purpose of using anything but the machine gun units with an occasional engineer to upgrade the trenches.

Visually Stenches looks quite nice, with stylized 2D graphics. All four available maps have a distinct look to them and the music is very atmospheric. Your units do an occasional shout out and the zombie hordes do moaning of their own. The controls are intuitive, with controlling your troops as easy as drawing a line on the battlefield. You can scroll the field of view either using the accelerometer or via dragging across the sky.

Stenches is an nice casual action/strategy game that will keep you occupied for hours. The distinct stylized graphics and intuitive controls make holding the fort against the waves of undead an addictive and enjoyable experience. Unfortunately due to only 4 maps with 20 to 40 campaign waves in all and the somewhat poor unit balance, Stenches currently doesn’t quite have the replay value and number of game modes as Trenches. But for 0.99 cents you’re sure to get at least a few hours of fun out of it, which is more than reasonable in my mind.

With this I declare Stenches: A Zombie Tale of Trenches officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Stenches: A Zombie Tale of Trenches Developer: Thunder Game Works
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 42.45MB
  • Intuitive interface
  • Stylish visuals and audio
  • Distinct enemies
  • Poor unit balance
  • Only 4 maps


A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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