Please Rate this Review: Toy Soldiers.
Brave little soldier comes to life, literally
HIGH The smug feeling you get when you flank an opponent
LOW Oddly long loading times
WTF No obvious indicator of unlocking the German campaign has left some unaware of it's existence
I’ll admit something a bit embarrassing here; I was never allowed to play with those tiny green army men. Being a child of immigrants, my mother was incredibly susceptible to what I have officially coined “parental gossip science.” You know the type; the one that makes parents think more than an hour in front of the television will kill you or that texting will automatically give you arthritis. Combine that with my obsession with videogames and egocentric personality and my poor parents thought that I was about seven years from homicide. In fact, the one Nerf Gun I owned was confiscated merely days after receiving it, despite having lost the foamy bullets within hours. Regardless, this evidence is evidently not enough to qualify as “crimes against humanity” and the international courts refuse to hear my testimony against their cruel and unusual punishment. Where am I going with this increasingly bizarre anecdote? Why, that you should totally buy the XBLA hit game Toy Soldiers.
While most current generation games try to impress with realistic graphics and effects, Toy Soldiers tries its very hardest to reach into that gentle cartoonish part of out childhood. The game places you in the command of an army of toy soldiers, as you battle your way through the World War II’s less popular older brother The Great War (1914-1918). The soldiers themselves are purposely reminiscent of the Little Green Army Men that were common-place in the average child’s toy barrel in the 80’s and 90’s. But that’s not the only way Toy Soldiers charms its way through our living rooms. The menu screen sports a gramophone melodiously playing in the back ground, and the loading screens feature old style up beat toy commercials. From start to finish everything is simply pleasant.
Part RTS, part Tower Defense game, the aim of each and every game is to keep hostiles out of your main base, which is in the form of a Toy Box. Players start the game with a set amount of cash to spend on units and the amount increases with every enemy killed. Different types of units are unlocked thought the game, and upgrades are available to increase the effectiveness. As a breath of fresh air, the game also allows you to jump straight into the sweaty trench foot infected boots of your soldiers. Though describing it that way may have made it instantly less appealing. From infantry men, to mortar cannons, to the occasional plane or tank, players can jump into the action at will.
The game spans a lengthy 24 missions; half with the British attempting to out wit the Kaiser and half with the Germans trying to overpower old George’s platoon. Playing through the British parts unlock the German parts, so be sure not to miss out. Mission objectives are often unique and varied, and sometimes even feature a boss battle like a Zeppelin. Each level sports a handful of optional goals to spice up the action and the hardest difficulty setting forces you to be in and out of control of each unit. Completing a mission adds it to an online leader board, offering incentive for multiple playthroughs.
The battle fields aren’t always that large, but they sure are beautiful. The game is played from a child’s perspective, with plastic trees and other such terrain models littering the area. Of course, the use of toy soldiers means that there is no blood and lives seem more expendable. Recreating the greatest battles of the war becomes one heck of a past time once again.
The multiplayer is even more involving. Creating a big bad defensive base is always fun, but launching multiple attacks from your trenches is where the real thrill is. Watching your latest offensive make its way through the “No Mans Land” only to get mowed down by a mortar shell is heartbreaking, but it only encourages the player to try harder next time. Playing with a buddy on split screen is even more fun, and I haven’t seen so much embarrassingly bad racial smack talk since our last FIFA World Cup simulation tournament.
Toy Soldiers is some of the most entertaining time I’ve had with my Xbox. It’s quirky, charming, and thrilling; all for a fraction of the price of a full length title. From RTS veterans like myself to novices to the genre, it’s a game that anyone can pick up and enjoy. I would have never expected the Xbox Live Arcade to make such a splash in my gaming inventory, but Toy Soldiers is a must have. If you’ll excuse me, the Germans are planning their last desperate offense, and you can’t exactly depend on the French to stop them.
Disclaimer: This game was obtained via the Xbox Live Arcade and reviewed on the Xbox 360 console. Approximately 13 hours of play were devoted to the single-player campaign and 6 hours to the multiplayer component.
Parents: The game features cartoon violence, but no blood or any other objectionable material. If you're comfortable letting your kids play with Toy Soldiers, than this is no different.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing: No significant difference, audio indicators are caught easily caught by a keen eye.
Last edited by pimppeter2; 07-03-2010 at 03:09 AM.