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Toy Soldiers – The Kaiser’s Battle Review

Release: June 30th 2010
Genre: Strategy, Tower Defense
Developer: Signal Studios
Available Platforms: XBLA
Players: 1-2
MSRP: 400 points
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Website: http://www.signalstudios.net/our-games/the-kaiser-battle/

Have you heard of The Kaiser’s Battle and wanted to see what it would be like on the battlefield? With Signal Studios’ first DLC for Toy Soldiers you can – at least, in miniature toy form you can. The DLC, entitled “The Kaiser’s Battle“, consists of 3 new single player levels played by the French, an all new and larger survival map, 2 new multiplayer maps, 3 new achievements, and to top it all off, a brand new boss. To give you a brief history lesson, The Kaiser’s Battle (also known as The Spring Offensive) was a series of offensive attacks by the Germans and also considered their last effort to win the war in 1918. In the end, their attempt failed and only resulted in many unnecessary casualties. So with that said, let’s break down each level and decide if this DLC is worth the 400 points.

The first level starts with one of the later battles called “Blucher-Yorck“. The map consists of hills, tree lines, broken buildings, and a small river in front of your Toy Box. For enemy foot units, there are quite a few roads and trenches to travel on but you are able to cover those paths quite well with your units. The troubling part is the tanks; there is almost no shortage of them. You can set up your Howitzer’s on top of the hill to cover 180 degrees of the map, but as soon as the tanks get close to your Toy Box, you are out of luck because there is no clear shot.  The map is fairly small and will have you defending your Toy Box from every side; not just the front. I found this level to be really fun – intense but fun. On every attempt, the tanks were the worst and overwhelmed my defense. This of course caused me to surrender by default at the last minute and have to replay the level quite a few times. Eventually, with some strategic thinking, you will win but it will be hard fought.

Following the Blucher-Yorck battle, there was “Operation Gneisenau“. I don’t know much about when this battle took place but, judging by the darkness of the level, I’m going to assume it took place at night. There are a few darker levels in the main game, but this is the darkest level yet. Again, it’s a small map – smaller than the first – but luckily all the action takes place right in front of you. The map is really open too with no hills or structures to play around. The enemy foot units will travel in the trenches giving you plenty of time to destroy them before they reach your Toy Box. When it comes to tanks, they go all over the place and although all your units have a clear shot at them, they tend to destroy your units too often. If battling tanks weren’t troubling enough, this level has a few waves of planes and Zeppelins. Planes tend to be tricky enough to hit but add in the darkness and you’ll likely have a few pass through and into your Toy Box.

The final level, appropriately named “The Last Offensive“, is the largest of the three maps and takes place along the River Marne. This is probably the easiest level of the three but still a challenge to complete. It’s also the brightest and most beautiful looking level. This level consists mostly of enemy foot units with some tanks. There are quite a few evenly spaced locations for you to place your units and destroy the enemy before they get near your Toy Box. To make some things easier, you have a plane at your disposal which is really helpful against large waves of foot units and destroying the heavier enemy units within the town. To finish this level, you must defeat the large German K-Wagen. This is a tricky boss fight. You may have trouble during your first attempt, but a second attempt should be fairly easy as you should know what needs to be hit by then.

My overall thoughts:

The good thing about this DLC is the difficulty and replay value. I keep saying the levels are challenging and they are, but it’s better for them to pose a challenge than to just breeze through them. The entire mini campaign is a real endurance run; lots of action that keeps you on your toes and always moving around. With the increased difficulty and added achievements, especially the one where you must find all the golden cubes, you will no doubt be playing the levels quite a few times and spending hours completing them. The Kaiser’s Battle is a worthy addition to Toy Soldiers and shouldn’t be missed by fans of the game.

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