Trenches – Review
Follow Genre: Horror survival game
Developer: Steelkrill Studio
Publisher: Steelkrill Studio, Ratalaika Games
Platform: PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: Switch

Trenches – Review

Site Score
Good: Scary atmosphere, Interesting audio mechanics
Bad: Graphical glitches
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Steelkrill Studio is a one-person independent developer who has made two games in the past with decent reviews. Their latest title is a survival horror game set during World War I, aptly titled Trenches. It seems like your average object-gathering horror, though the gameplay is highly reliant on audio and has a fun gimmick or two because of it. The game was released on PC and several consoles, so we decided to check out the Switch version that came out recently and see if we could survive the brutality of war.


Trenches does not have a large amount of plot, nor is it the focus of the game. Your character starts off as a soldier during World War I who ends up behind enemy lines, stuck in the trenches. He’ll have to find his way home while also dealing with the expected psychological trauma that the war has caused. While the story isn’t one cohesive narrative being told, you can find letters and pictures throughout the maze that give you glimpses into what the life of these soldiers could be like. Unsurprisingly, a lot of it is rather horrific or depressing. Your character is also haunted by the memories of their loved ones back at the homefront, and these memories follow him through auditory and visual hallucinations.


Visually the game does look pretty good, though honestly there’s not a lot to comment on. You spend your entire time walking through monotone trenches that all look the same. While this adds to the sense of disorientation the game wants to inflict on players, it does mean that the environments are rather bland or boring at times. There’s one floodlight illuminating the entire scene and staring into it even slightly will cause a large annoying flare that takes up half the screen. The game also suffers from a large number of visual bugs, with textures sometimes not loading in or glitching, making walls flicker, etc. There’s nothing game-breaking as far as we’ve found, but it detracts from the experience.


The sound design in Trenches is thankfully much better executed than the graphics. This is extra important since it plays a huge part in the gameplay. The game lacks voice acting or even music but it makes up for that with a ton of different sound effects. This is done via the haunting sound of bomb sirens, footsteps in the distance, or even the voices of fallen comrades whispering behind you. The game keeps you constantly on edge. You also need to follow noises to find your objective while being mindful of how much noise you’re making. Sound cues will also be important for the monster that lurks in the trenches, which is something we’ll explain below.


Trenches is a survival horror game that uses an object-gathering mechanic. The goal of the game is to find and collect nine fetus dolls hidden along the maze and get out again while being chased by a horrific monster. Each run ends when you get caught, so the punishment for failure is severe, especially since the map changes each time and the places of the dolls are randomly generated. Learning where they are by heart won’t do you any good, so you have to get smart about how you move around. The game relies on both its creepy atmosphere and an egregious amount of jumpscares to scare the player, though there is a ‘no jumpscare’ mode for those who don’t like getting a mini heart attack every few seconds. With how many ridiculous jumpscares there are, we honestly recommend this mode more than the normal one.

The gameplay is mostly centered around audio. For example, your character has a trench whistle. When you blow the whistle, you can hear the dolls you’re looking for crying, and you can then pinpoint their location that way. However, it will also give away your location to the aforementioned monster. The same can happen if you run too fast or walk over wooden floors. Crouching and peeking around corners is the way to go, and if you do get spotted, you need to get away and hide as fast as you can. Though the monster isn’t too relentless at chasing you, it does also mimic noises and tries to lure you into a trap. The game ramps up its difficulty as you go.

Overall, the game keeps you on edge with its creepy atmosphere and by changing stuff around often. As you collect more dolls, your character starts hallucinating more frequently. Sometimes, the maze changes while you’re walking through it, so this makes finding your way around even harder. All of these things combined can make for a pretty harrowing experience, with enough changeability to make replays worth it despite each run only taking up to an hour.


Trenches is a short but effective horror game that will scare your pants off. You’ll probably be tense all the way through, but you’ll still find something interesting on each run. The game is a bit jumpscare heavy but you can turn jumpscares off if it isn’t your cup of tea. Even the visual glitches are ignorable if you remember Trenches was made by a single person. If you’re looking for a quick and fun scare, you won’t have a bad time.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Trenches - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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