To celebrate today’s release of The Kaiser Battle DLC (for more info check out this fine Platform Nation article) for the XBLA game, Toy Soldiers, I have written this article on why you should be playing Toy Soldiers in the first place.
Toy Soldiers is not a perfect game. It has it’s flaws just like all games do whether they be technical or opined, but the good news is it doesn’t matter. Signal Studios has crafted a game that is filled to the brim with flavor, charm, and content that easily overrides any cons it may have. Seriously, this game is packed with more missions, objectives, and collectibles than you can shake a Wii controller at, and just when you think you’re done, they throw in a campaign + so you can do it all over again as the enemy. There’s also 2 sweet avatar awards that you can unlock and wear (I wear my gas mask all the time). That’s an awful lot of content for your money (1200 MSP) and the best part is it’s fun to play. This is why I highly recommend that you play Toy Soldiers right now!
I knew from the first time when I played Toy Soldiers I was in for a good ride. It immediately invoked fond childhood memories of playing with my G. I. Joes and little green army men out in my backyard. I would line my guys up and march through the grass to attack the enemy just like they do in the game. Sheer childhood bliss! As I unlocked each new mission, I got access to more and better units which would put a bigger smile on my face. Machine gun turrets, nice. Ooooo gas spitting guys, even better. Whoa, howitzers, sweet! Tanks and planes, rock on! I was in heaven.
For those of you not familiar with the game yet (shame on you), it plays like a tricked out tower defense game set in the time of The Great War (aka World War I). You place your units on different locations around your toy box with the main goal of keeping the enemy out of the box. You can only let so many enemy units in to your toy box before you loose, so strategy in setting up your units is involved as some units are better at destroying certain enemies than other units. Each unit must be bought before it can be placed, but no worries, every enemy that is destroyed will net you some cash. You can then use your money to buy more units or upgrade to more powerful ones.
What makes this tricked out compared to your average tower defense, is that you can take control of your “towers” and fire on the enemy yourself. You also get access to sniper towers and can even cause mass destruction with some vehicles. This is where you really start having some fun. Blowing up the enemy with your tank is a blast and dive bombing with your plane is da bomb. These vehicles offer some heavy duty fire power needed to put the smack-down on the enemy. Switching between units and/or vehicles is a breeze and controlling them is just as nice. The A.I. is pretty good and makes it easy being an arm-chair general, but taking control of your own units will increase the damage dealt upon the enemies, plus it just makes it more fun in my opinion.
Did I mention that there’s a crap-ton of stuff to do in this game? Well there is. Toy Soldiers throws 24 fun and exciting missions at you (12 each for campaign and campaign +), each one offering a new and more difficult map to conquer. One map has you right outside of a walled in town with enemy guns everywhere. The problem is they are all hidden behind buildings and piles of rubble left over from a previous battle so caution is needed when playing lest you be annihilated. Every mission also offers you a special challenge that requires you to do something specific to complete. These challenges range from sniping three enemy soldiers with one bullet to destroying an enemy emplacement by crashing your biplane into it. Completing a challenge will unlock a ration ticket for your display chest, which can then be viewed and offer you some insight as to what rations the typical WWI soldier carried with him into war. Plus the challenges just add some extra fun to the missions. There are also 24 golden boxes hidden through out the game (one for each mission) that need to be destroyed. These are tough to find and some will even offer you a challenge just figuring out how to destroy them. They aren’t all easily reached with your units and will take some effort to do, but when these are destroyed a deep sense of accomplishment is felt. You can also work on obtaining a general ranking (i.e. you didn’t let any enemy soldiers into your toy box) for each mission that will unlock you a pretty achievement.
Signal Studios has really gone all out and made a great game. It is easy enough to pick up and play, but will definitely take some skill to master. This of course is a good thing. The game never feels cheap in the harder missions but instead gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside when you finally destroy the Tsar Tank, or you get a general ranking on that one mission that was giving you trouble. Throw in some nice touches like the period soundtrack that sounds like the dusty, scratchy records you’d find in your (great) grandparent’s attic to the little gears and springs that fly out from an exploding enemy vehicle and you can tell that Signal Studios really went the extra mile to make you an excellent game. A game made from blood, sweat, and tears that will give you tears of enjoyment; make you sweat with anxiety as the enemy puts the hammer down on you, and possibly even make your eyes and hands bleed because you can’t put the controller down.
Why are you still reading this? Go buy this game now! You won’t regret it.