Trenga Unlimited Review

Mobile games: you either love them or hate them. I’ve never been a big fan, outside of a few notable exceptions, but I can somewhat see their appeal as time wasters for five minutes as you wait for a ride or pop to the toilet. It’s this pick up and play mentality that is lost when most mobile ports come to console (unless you’re lucky enough to have a screen and console in your toilet), which exposes the games for what they often are; shallow, repetitive drivel that is only interested in getting you to spend a few quid on pointless items. Trenga Unlimited at least has a passable concept for the gameplay hook – riffing on an all time great – but the mobile title’s origin shine through at every turn.

I will say upfront though that there are no predatory micro-transactions here, which is commendable if only because it seems ripe for them. Perhaps the mobile version had them but our console release has escaped that pitfall. However, this is still very clearly a mobile title through and through.

Presentation is charmingly inoffensive; all bright colours and generic visuals and music. Large, mobile-friendly icons are present throughout The level select map could be out of any number of similar titles, and there is naturally a three star-style scoring system in place for each level.

When it comes to the gameplay Trenga riffs on the classic Tetris, in that rather than dropping various configurations of blocks from the top, we get to pick one of three random shapes to insert into the gaps on the play field on each go. This field has four sides, and so we can rotate it in order to fit the shapes in where needed. Manage to get an entire shape in an empty space and our Trenga combo meter begins, from a simple Trenga all the way up to Ultra Trenga. Well, I say all the way up but there are only four levels to combo together, each subsequent combo merely repeating Ultra Trenga. Timings are generous by default, but the constant barrage of the announcer saying “Ultra Trenga” in yet more generic mobile style voice work gets old, real fast.

Placing the blocks is simple enough, though still somehow unintuitive at the same time. We can rotate and flip the block and swivel the playing field, yet the control scheme felt off to me; we can only rotate one way with RB while LB flips it, which makes sense but still felt off when in use. Placing the blocks is much the same. Our choice of block hovers in front of the field with a red shadow indicator turning green when we’re over an empty space, but the blocks hovering somehow make it difficult to get a proper read on things as they line up with the empty spaces one block away from the shadow, meaning we were constantly hitting the go button too soon and mucking up the combo.

Levels are thankfully brief, and to be fair the core concept is somewhat entertaining in short bursts, though no exactly challenging. We granted a new buddy at set points in the progression that offer up more time to combo, or longer level time among others but the few I unlocked barely made much difference considering the ease of play to begin with. And none made my time anything more than a fair to middling ten minutes before deciding to move on to something else.

Conclusion

Trenga Unlimited is hardly a bad game, but it’s also not exactly an exciting one either. Passable mobile-style fun for ten minutes at a time, as a console release it wears out its welcome very quickly, and won’t have you eager to get back on the big screen to keep playing.

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This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.
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Good
  • Simple to pick up
  • Decent enough in very short bursts
Bad
  • Repetitive audio grates quickly
  • Not really suited to console play
3.5
Lousy
Gameplay - 4
Graphics - 4
Audio - 3
Longevity - 3
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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