Published by – Microsoft Studios
Number of Players – 1-2
Platform – Xbox Live Arcade
Release Date – August 17th, 2011
Genre – Shooter/Action/Strategy
ESRB – Teen
MSRP – 1200 MS Points (Around $15 USD)
Everyone remembers those awful toy soldiers video games. You basically ordered little green army men into battle but the controls were clunky, the graphics were bad and the gameplay was so confusing that it was more fun to play with actual little green army men. At least they didn’t insult your intelligence. Well, thankfully aficionados of tiny plastic chartreuse warriors can rejoice knowing that a game finally exists that celebrates our childhood playtime in all its emerald glory.
Signal Studios’ Cold War: Toy Soldiers is about as close to those crappy old toy soldiers games as General Patton ever was to giving up which is to say: not very. Despite multiple upgrades, playable commandos and bonus rewards in the form of nuclear attacks, Cold War: Toy Soldiers is a tower defense game at its very core. But, man is this a fun tower defense game.
Available on the Xbox Live Arcade, Toy Soldiers main objective to to protect your toybox from being overrun by enemy troops. But this isn’t merely a battle of toys against toys. This is a battle for democratic supremacy. (Unless of course, you’re a big fan of 80s-era Soviet Russia. In which case, this is a opportunity to stick it to the American pig-dogs.)
There are a ton of weapons at your disposal from mortars to anti-tank guns, artillery and more. Where the game really sets itself apart is in the environments that while at first glance might be a desert or a coastal fortress are actually a sandbox and a bathtub. At no point does Toy Soldiers take itself too seriously and it’s all the better for it. Special units are available in the form of battery powered tanks and helicopters and occasional bonuses reward a US Commando or Soviet Super Soldier for the player to control that is vastly overpowered and can turn the tide of a battle in a matter of moments.
On top of embracing it’s toy roots, it also embraces the time period. Every battle is the US versus the Soviets and in epic Rocky IV-like tradition, the music is bad 80s hair metal with a patriotic, wartime tinge and the aural landscape is rife with cringe-worthy catch phrases. The only thing missing are the incredible montages. (Though, I’m sure some enterprising gamer will make an app for that.)
While the gameplay is pretty straightforward and the story is practically non-existent save for the Cold War atmosphere, this game delivers in ways that many big name games do not. For instance, it has local multiplayer and an engaging co-op format. Nothing is more fun than blowing up your buddies while their sitting right next to you and anyone who has every played Worms will tell you that.
Overall, this game should appeal to everyone because ultimately we’re all just playing games to have fun. Hopefully, Signal Studios is making similar tongue-in-cheek entries to this one. That would make at least this reviewer one happy camper and I don’t even camp.
GAMEPLAY: 5 / STORY: 1 / GRAPHICS: 3 / SOUND: 2 / OVERALL: 4.5