Lasting First Impressions of Toy Soldiers: Cold War from Signal Studios
In 2010, Signal Studios released their first XBLA game, Toy Soldiers, to much fan response. Personally, I couldn’t get into the game and I was fairly quick to dismiss it at the time. Now we find the release of the sequel, Toy Soldiers: Cold War as the fifth and final instalment in the Summer of Arcade 2011 collection. Going into this one, I recalled my not-so-impressed attitude towards the first game but knew I had to at least give it a better shake than I did its predecessor for the purpose of this review.
The Toy Soldiers series of games are essentially in the Tower Defense genre of games where your ‘towers’ are military turret units such as Machine Guns, Anti-Tank, Mortars, Anti-Air, and Artillery. Each of these turrets also have multiple upgrades available as you progress through the game. In addition to the turrets, you will also have the option to control air vehicles such as Attack Helos and Jets, in addition to various ground units like tanks. Contrary to the turrets, which will operate on their own without your intervention, these vehicles will only be effective if you are controlling them directly.
During each mission, each in a new a different environment, you are bombarded by wave after wave of enemy soldiers (toy soldiers, of course!) and enemy vehicles (tanks, planes, helos, etc) all trying to take over your Toy Box. It is your job to protect your Toy Box by deploying the appropriate turrets in the designated build spots available. Once deployed, these turrets will operate on their own, but you can also take over control of the turret or vehicle of your choice in order to direct its attack and truly take control of the battlefield.
Contrary to my initial thoughts of this game, it became obvious to me that I truly did not understand the brilliance of the original Toy Soldiers game last year and I clearly needed to give it more time. I am having an absolute blast playing this game. Each mission clearly requires different strategies and disparate turret deployments to be effective against the oncoming waves of enemies. Luckily, if you lose control of your Toy Box, you have the option of a "Wavelist Rewind" which will take you back to a previously completed wave and allow you to start your deployment again and rethink your strategy. It really wasn’t until the 3rd mission that I began to truly grasp the concept and strategies involved in this game and that’s when things really began to become clear and the fun ultimately started. Now I need to go back to the first few levels and play them again.
In addition to the 11 missions available to play in single player, you can also team up with a friend to play through the same missions in split-screen or over Xbox Live. The replay value inherent in Toy Soldiers: Cold War is plenty. Not only are there 11 missions to continue playing through to collect all the available medals, there are also a collection of mini-games to play. Each of these mini-game will automatically compare your score to those on Xbox Live. Can you get into the top score?
All in all, Toy Soldiers: Cold War is a wonderful followup to last year’s Toys Soldiers and I’m sure fans of the original will love getting back into the toy box, so to speak. It truly seems this year’s Summer of Arcade is full of hits. All five titles available in this collection are worthy of being in my Arcade line-up and I am enjoying them all. With Toy Soldiers, Summer of Arcade is ultimately and literally going out with a bang!
Signal Studios, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.