Toy Soldiers: Cold War Hits the Target
Rambo says get this. Or else.
Posted 1 year ago By - Rory Young
According to their official website, Seattle-based Signal Studios sold over 500,000 copies of the original Toy Soldiers in just over a year. So with that said, if there is any justice in the gaming world, they should have another financial hit on their hands with Toy Soldiers: Cold War. This is the last of the five games being released as part of Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade 2011 promotion, and in this reviewer’s opinion, the best of the bunch. Sure, Bastion has the innovative narrator, From Dust has unique gameplay elements, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is visually stunning, and Fruit Ninja Kinect gives a fresh take on a mobile gaming phenomenon. But Toy Soldiers: Cold War gives us so much more...
I never made it past the tutorial level of the original Toy Soldiers, so when loading the sequel up, I knew I’d be getting a virtually new experience. Tower defense has never been my preferred gaming genre, but the first title has such a great reputation, so I jumped at the chance to give the sequel a spin. And I’m glad I did. So very glad.
Toy Soldiers: Cold War takes place in the 1980’s at the height of the Cold War (and the American “us-versus-them” pop-culture mentality). The objective is simple: place turrets of different abilities (machine gunner, anti-tank cannons, artillery, etc.) at predetermined points on the map, and stop the opposing forces from entering your bunker. While your troops are operating the turrets, you are free to pilot choppers, tanks and fighter jets to give yourself an edge, albeit a timed one. You can also take over the operation of any turret yourself whenever the urge strikes you. Each level has between roughly ten and twenty waves of different enemies; with varying degrees of strength and numbers. From infantry, to jeeps and tanks, all the way up to helicopters and fighter jets, there are enough enemies to make every single level interesting. With each subsequent victory, you are awarded points based on a wide variety of criteria, including how well you defended your toy box and how frugally you played, both in the single player campaign and in the versus mode over Xbox Live. With that you will be awarded upgraded turrets and a seemingly endless amount of unlockables. Every level has its own set of achievable objectives called Decorations which, if completed, gives you even more rewards. There are built-in single-player leaderboards for each level as well, so you can compare scores with your friends. Unlockable mini-games and a survival mode extend the life of the game, with the new online and local co-op campaign to go along with the versus mode already mentioned.
The Red Dawn-homage premise and the appearance of a Rambo-like commando character (he shows up as one of your random barrage rewards; another new feature to the franchise) helps set the tone right from the beginning of the tutorial. 1980’s pop-culture fans will rejoice at all the genre references tucked in all the nooks and crannies. Graphically, there is nothing groundbreaking here, but it is still pleasing to the eye and maintains what was what was established with last year’s first entry. The explosions that occur when you wipe out entire platoons are particularly impressive. The audio is fantastic, and it’s probably the main reason why the experience is so immersive. You forget that you are in the middle of a tiny toy box in a pre-teen child’s room, using plastic army men and toy tanks. A healthy dose of humor sneaks its way into the plot of the game by way of the aforementioned Rambo character, blasting and screaming his way through choppers and tanks as the indestructible force that he is. The gameplay is very fluid, and the controls of the game are very pick-up-and-play, even for the most novice of gamers. There are a handful button combinations to get used to, but there is plenty of time in between waves of enemies to do everything you need to do to be prepared for it. Fortunately, the tutorial is very thorough as well.
Of all five Xbox LIVE Arcade games that were released for the Summer of Arcade promotion, if you could only get one of them, this is it. It’s the most fun, offers the most value, and it’s great to play with and against friends. And just as it was with Toy Soldiers, Cold War has a lot of life left in it just itching to be tapped, so hopefully there will be some downloadable content available down the road to extend the experience even further. If you have 1200 Microsoft space bucks in your bank, do your Xbox 360 a favor and feed this one to the hard drive!
Well, what are you waiting for? Get on it soldier!!
+ Endless rewards and unlockables
+ Fun with friends
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Release Date : 2011/08/17
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Microsoft Game Studios
Developer : Signal Studios
Category : Tower Defense
ESRB : T
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