Toy Soldiers Review
By Craig H.
Toy Soldiers is a cleverly disguised tower defense game with a third person twist. This blend between the two styles is a fantastic mix and provides for a great hands-on strategy experience.
The premise of Toy Soldiers is simple. Players must defeat waves of enemies and stop a pre-designated amount of enemies from entering their toy box. Artillery weapons can be bought and placed in specific locations on the map to aid your objective (i.e. kill everyone). For every enemy you kill you earn money. This money can be used to buy new weapons, upgrade existing weapons (up to a level 3), and repair weapons. During the beginning of each level you have a limited amount of funds and must choose which approach you will take. Each wave gets increasingly difficult and the need to constantly upgrade and repair your artillery is essential to victory. Every couple of stages you will be met with a fantastic boss battle that will test your skills and your weapons (let's hope you upgraded correctly).
Players control roughly half the battlefield and may place artillery in specific locations on the map. There are 6 total artillery types available in the game as well as numerous vehicles (both air and land). One feature that really sets this game apart from other tower defense games is that at any point during a match you can take control of one of your artillery weapons and mow down your opponents in a third person perspective.
The competitive side of Toy Soldiers comes in the form of a one-on-one battle, either splitscreen locally or over Xbox Live. During these matches each player now has the ability to dictate what type of soldiers to send at the others toy box. Your goal is now to infiltrate your opponent’s toy box with a pre-designated amount of soldiers. These battles can also be customized before launching the match.
One gripe is that the AI seems to be hit or miss once you reach the later levels and especially during competitive play. This requires you to take control of specific artillery machines and deal out the punishment yourself. This is both a pro and a con. On a positive note you will dismantle way more enemies then your AI counterpart ever could but on a bad note this will cause your view to be limited and can cause you to have areas of weakness on the battlefield.
Toy Soldiers does a great job bringing you into the battlefield. Visually Toy Soldiers looks great and you will notice table lamps and chairs off to the side to remind you that you are playing with plastic toy soldiers (a very nice touch). During bomb and mortar attacks you can send your enemy combatants sailing into the air only to see them explode into tiny plastic pieces. The soundtrack in the game fits well in the classic war time setting.
Overall, Toy Soldiers is a great hybrid tower defense game. The campaign will take several hours to complete and most will go back and play levels over. Even if you are not biggest fan of tower defense games Toy Soldiers does enough different to warrant your interest. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Pros: High replay value. Great graphics and immersive environments. Competitive play available via Splitscreen and Online. Highly addictive gameplay. Lots of different drivable vehicles. Good length single player campaign.
Cons: AI can get spotty in the later levels and during competitive play. Only 6 different weapons classes.