Toy Soldiers: Cold War Review
No amount of glue is gonna fix that.
The summer of arcade continues its parade of awesome with a new Toy Soldiers game. Cold War takes you back to the days before G.I Joe toys were ridiculous and instead were just a cool looking dude with a gun. Signal Studios are offering a liberal dose of plastic carnage with a side of 80’s power-rock. This isn’t your typical, boring, point and click strategy game. Cold war is about explosions, tanks and flying toy helicopters. Get ready to kick some commie butt.
As I have said, at first glance, you might think this is a strategy game. Let me stop you right there. Your gun emplacements may be stationary, but after they are placed it’s all action. Toy Soldiers: Cold War has you fight out the cold war, as it was escalated into actual conflict by every 80’s war movie. The cheesy premise is portrayed perfectly by subtle, tongue-in-cheek humor along with the slapstick visuals of toy soldiers dying by falling to pieces as a broken toy would.
You will start each of the 11 maps by placing a few gun placements on pre-set tiles. Each type of gun costs money and your choices range from machine guns, to anti-tank, to ‘makeshift’, which are always hilarious gadgets such as a match and an aerosol can. These placements can later be upgraded or repaired. The enemy attacks in a series of waves and you have to strategically place your guns so they can take out all of the enemies before they reach your Toy Box which serves as your base. If enough enemy units reach your Toy Box, you lose. Don’t worry, you don’t simply watch as your guns take out enemies, you have to jump in and control each gun. You can hover over the battlefield and enter any gun you choose. When you are controlling a gun you are firing it in a third person view and being in control is the only way you can earn combos which eventually build up into the best part of the game, Barrages. A Barrage allows you to unleash a random special power on the battlefield.
Barrages allow a number of different tide turning abilities such as tactical nukes, close air support or calling in a commando. Commando was definitely my favorite. For a few seconds you take third person control of a Rambo type with an automatic in one hand and a bazooka in the other. He mows down enemy soldiers by the hundreds while spitting cheesy movie lines. Highly entertaining. Close air support was a close second as you get to rain hell on the enemy in the same style as the AC-130 kill streak from Call of Duty. This is not to mention the battery operated vehicles that are on some maps. As long as the vehicle has some battery power you can take it on a rampage. The fighter jet was just awesome.
All of this is accompanied by Challenges and Decorations. Challenges are awarded for getting X number of kills with X weapon and Decorations offer a couple of different side objectives to complete in each mission. You’ll never be bored in Cold War’s single player campaign.
There are also a number of single player mini-games that track your high score along with the top players on Xbox Live. Their scores are staring you right in the face the whole time so it serves for great motivation. Last but not least is Survival mode, this is an endless mission with the goal being to survive as long as you can. I had a ton of fun with Toy Soldiers: Cold War and will likely go back to tackle it on the higher difficulties that open up later on.
Versus mode is a lot of fun as well, you face off with one other player in a battle for control of some contested build sites. I only wish there had been more than three maps. Considering the amount of levels in the campaign there could have been a few more multiplayer maps. The campaign also offers full co-op for two players. Having another set of hands managing your guns would be almost necessary on the last few maps on the higher difficulties. Survival mode can also be played co-op. Co-op is always a welcome sight for a game like this. Now, if only there could be matchmaking for co-op like versus and two-on-two versus matches. Maybe next time.
With the 200 point limit on XBLA games, most studios get sort of lazy with the achievements. Not Signal Studios, there are a lot of achievements and they are quite a bit of fun to unlock. King of the Hill will likely be the biggest challenge here, you must hold the contested build site at the end of a versus match.
Toy Soldiers: Cold War is exactly what you want in an arcade game; a ton of fun you can share with a friend. There are a ton of modes available to play and a toy box full of content to experience. Cold War is well worth the 1200 MS Points. The gameplay is great and the mini-games are addictive. You’ll be playing this one way longer than a lot of full retail games.