“Even More Charming and Nostalgic Than The Original, With Even More Content and Action.”
An XboxHornet review by WDesm.
The original Toy Soldiers was good, and I mean, really good. It had a beautiful blend of old-toybox nostalgia, and its marriage of action, strategy, and tower defense more than exceeded the expectations of gamers. It was followed up by two DLC expansions, including adding the French army and even a toybox melange of aliens. But despite the thoroughly-enjoyable DLC, there was still more to add to the series, and Signal Studios has done a great job of giving gamers more of what they love in a gorgeous sequel that includes campaigns, competitive play, survival modes, and even minigames, all wrapped in a new era of cheesy toys and heart-warming nostalgia.
For those that haven’t played the original Toy Soldiers, the basic premise of the original and the sequel is that a full scale toybox war has come alive to be re-enacted, and as one side of the toy army, you must position turrets (and maintain/upgrade them) while also taking direct control of them, or even controlling heavier units such as bombers and helicopters. Toy Soldiers: Cold War keeps this strategic core, but also significantly improves the “action” aspect of the game, with more controllable “heavy units”, bonus rewards for turret kill streaks (unlimited ammo, artillery barrage, etc), and, perhaps the hallmark of Toy Soldiers: Col War, The Commando.
The Commando is a walking, running, and jumping super tank. Looking and acting like they jumped right out of a Rambo movie, this Sylvester Stallone-wannabe has a machine gun, rocket launcher, mullet, and hilarious voice-over. You take direct control of the Commando, and if you could imagine the damage that you could cause with an invincibility code in Gears of War…well, you might understand how quickly enemy waves will fall to your weapons. The Commando is only available for a very limited time, however, turning even his deployment into a tactical choice.
Despite an increase in focus on “action”, the game is definitely still a strategy game in its roots, and with oversized legions barreling down on your toybox, thinking about turret placement and when to use your killstreak bonuses is crucial. Campaign missions reward creative thinking, with unique “decorations” per stage rewarding good gameplay (such as destroying all of the helicopters in the stage in a Commando spree), while “challenges” keep track of slightly quirkier per-level objectives (such as using a non-upgraded machinegun to kill enemy infantry). Decorations and Challenges are primarily for bragging rights, and while they do add replayability to the levels, it would have been nice if they offered some level of reward, even if it was minor like a new skin, decal, or model for your units.
Toy Soldiers: Cold War is fully multiplayer, with the whole campaign being playable alone, split-screen, or online via Xbox Live. The Survival Mode, an endless gauntlet guaranteed to test your skill on three highly unique maps, is also fully multiplayer, as well as the more predictable Head-to-Head competitive being available split-screen or online. The package is rounded out with six minigames, each playing off a different turret style (or, in one case, an AC-130 gunship), offering gamers tons of playable content.
With so many improvements over the original, including new turrets, new abilities, and Commando heroes, as well as multiplayer options and replayable challenge paths, Toy Soldiers: Cold War is an even better deal than the amazing predecessor. The inclusion of more action-y events, such as the killstreak bonuses (Attack Barrages) and Commandos add a ton of fun, while not reducing the strategic value of the game’s resources, turret placement, and missions. Even better yet, the “toybox” theme is immaculately refined, with more cheesy load screens, battery-powered helicopters and a hilarious Stallone impersonator.
If you at all enjoyed the first game, the sequel is even more awesome.
Game Score: 9/10.
Download a free demo of the game here.