Toy Soldiers: Cold War Reviews

  • xxW0LFxx TFDxxW0LFxx TFD205,943
    30 Aug 2011
    14 0 1
    It's been a while since I've posted a review here, so lets see if the community thinks I've improved!

    Originally written for my own site;

    Like the original game, Cold War is still a tower defense game at it heart, demanding you create impenetrable defenses to stop the stampeding waves of enemies from reaching your toybox, resulting in game over. It’s the ultimate incarnation of all those childhood fantasy battles between your little plastic soldiers; waves of infantry charge across the hill, tanks trundle along the road and jets fly over head, but like your childhood daydreams, it all takes place inside a kid’s bedroom. In the background you can spy writing desks, basketballs and more, but inside the battlefield it’s all mayhem and fun.

    Key to changes for this sequel is the change in setting; we’ve gone from World War 1 and jumped a massive 40 years or so to the Cold War, and that means some pretty big tech changes and several new gameplay elements to keep things feeling fun and fresh. But for those unfamiliar with the original game, let’s go back over the basic concepts; each level sees you floating around the battlefield in a God like perspective, picking and choosing which turret to construct on which expansion slot. Behind you sits your Toybox, and your goal is to defend it against waves of enemies who will charge across the battlefield and try to get into it. Let too many in and it’s game over for you. In between waves you’ll get the chance to catch your breath, check out whats coming in the next wave and adjust your defenses accordingly, as well as upgrade and repair your existing gear.

    But after the first wave you’ll most likely be wondering why any army would allow such bumbling and incompetent soldiers onto the battlefield; your machine gunners will wait an absurd amount of time before opening fire on enemy infantry and anti-tank teams won’t fire until the tanks are getting frighteningly close. I often found myself fighting the urge to turn my guns on my own troops and save myself the bother. But this stupidity isn’t due to poor AI design; it’s deliberate. It’s done to encourage you to take direct control of the weaponry yourself; a few simple button taps sees you take control of whatever weapon you’ve selected, and then you can open fire on the enemy. You won’t wait until the infantry are almost on top of you; hell no, you’ll open fire the moment you see them. In the early stages of the game, this direct control is simply helpful, but in later stages it becomes a necessity, and should you ramp up the difficulty you’ll find that your turrets won’t fire at all unless you’re controlling them. There are other benefits to being in direct control, though, as many of the turrets also have a secondary ability, ranging from the simple scope on machine guns to full guidance TOW missiles.

    It’s quite the selection you’ve got to take control of too. Around the battlefield you can place machine guns, anti-tank weapons, artillery, AA guns and more. Each one has a very specific job, but in a pinch they can be used against other enemy types. Different sized expansion slots allow for different turrets to be placed, and correctly choosing what must go where is key to the game, but don’t expect a strategically deep game here; once you’ve got the basic layout design sorted in the first level, you’ll rarely have a need to change it, bar some minor mid-wave adjustments that must be made.

    To construct these defenses you’re going to need some cold, hard cash, and to get it you’re going to have to mow down those enemy waves. Every enemy unit destroyed grants you more cash to spend on your defenses, from basic repairs to upgrades to make them that much more deadly. There’s a slight flaw that rears its ugly head during this base management; the controls. While the menus themselves are simple, the actual navigation of them can get clunky in the heat of battle. Selecting a unit and quickly trying to upgrade it can be cumbersome as the menus don’t react quickly enough, meaning a speedily needed repair or upgrade command will often actually find you directly controlling the turret instead. It’s not a game breaking flaw, but it’s a frustrating one when your inches away from beating a boss and need that vital turret repaired for battle.

    During missions you’ll often get a helping hand from a range on controllable vehicles stationed on pads around the board. Helicopters, jets and tanks will be at your disposal and they’re all quite deadly, but each one of them runs off of a battery pack so their lifespan is short. You can return them to their starting positions to recharge their batteries, but it takes time so saving these contraptions for tough waves or boss battles is a wise choice. At times they can feel a little clunky to control, but for the most part they’re easy to get to grips with. Though getting the buggers back on the recharge pads correctly can be a little finicky.

    Of all the changes in the game, Barrages make the biggest impact. Literally. Build your multiplier high enough by mowing down enough enemy units or take down Starred enemies and you’ll be rewarded by a randomly selected Barrage which provides some serious firepower for you to bring down on the field of battle. Barrages include artillery strikes that cover the map, bombing runs, controllable A-120 Gunships and more. The star of the show is the Commando, who gets dropped onto the field in packaging you see in the toyshops and comes with a machine gun and deadly rocket launcher. He’s player controller and can lay waste to the battlefield, all the while spouting random nonsense and bearing a startling resemblance to a certain John Rambo.

    From the main campaign you’ll get a total of eleven missions which will last the average player around 5 or 6 hours of play, but there’s incentive to replay each mission to get a higher score and oust your friends off the top spot. But if you’re someone who likes to play with friends then you’ll be pleased to know that the entire campaign can be played in co-op, and the difficulty doesn’t scale, so getting those harder difficulty medals will be made oh-so-much easier. Along the way through the campaign you’ll encounter a few entertaining boss fights to break up the pacing. However, there’s no second campaign available like there was in the first game.

    Cold War also comes with a Survival mode, which is pretty much exactly as it sounds; you face off against endless waves of enemies and attempt to survive for as long as you can. Again, this can be played in co-op which adds some good replay value to the game.

    Mini-games are also present, and while pretty simplistic they are worth a quick blast. Challenges include mowing down waves of infantry, guiding rockets through obstacles, and having a blast on a shooting range. They’re not going to amaze you, but leaderboards save the the day again by providing a nice reason to replay the challenges.

    But multiplayer is where you’ll spend the majority of your time when you’re not playing the campaign. The basic game mechanics remain largely the same; defend your toybox using your array of weaponry. The difference here is that you can spend your blood money on launching waves of enemies against your hated foe on the other end of the map. It’s damn good fun, and the ability to launch waves adds a layer of depth to the overall game.

    I should also mention that Cold War is quite the looker. Unlike many other war games it doesn’t go in for a dark and miserable look, instead maps tend to have a brighter color design, but still manages to have a feeling of real war. If I was feeling poetic I could even speak of how this, in many ways, reflects real war; scenes of violence taking place in beautiful locations. Bit I’m not, so instead I’ll just say that it looks damn good. The soldiers move with fluid animations powering them, making watching an anti-tank weapon firing and reloading a joy to behold.

    So what do I have to complain about? Simply put, I never found the game strategically deep nor very challenging. Sure, the higher difficulty levels are actually quite tough to complete, but the fact they take away the friendly AI feels like a rather strange way increase the difficulty. Every level simply game down to making some mild adjustments and then taking control of a turret or two and holding down the trigger until everything was dead. But despite this, I had plenty of fun doing it.

    What Cold War succeeds in doing is making each and every level feel like an epic, frantic last stand against the enemy hordes. Mowing down infantry with machine guns, blowing up tanks with missiles and destroying flying tanks with whatever the hell I could lay my hands on felt fun and satisfying. But most of all it does what any good sequel does; keeps the fun and charm of the original, adds in new stuff and then polishes it all up.

    The Good:
    + Commando!
    + Feels like an epic last stand all the time!
    + Nailing a perfect mortar strike and watching it wipe out an entire squad.

    The Bad:
    – Not strategically deep.
    – Loading times are a tad long.
    – Sticky controls.

    The Scores:

    Graphics: 9
    The animations are nice and fluid and the environments all look bright and interesting to look at.

    Sound: 7.5
    The sound effects and music all do what you’d expect, but never really amaze.

    Story: 4
    There’s little to say; it’s the story of the Cold War, except the Russians get a lot further than they did in real life.

    Gameplay: 8.5
    Not as deep as I’d like, but there’s something hugely entertaining about destroying waves of toys soldiers.

    Lifespan: 8
    The campaign will last around five or six hours, but throw in co-op, a few other modes and the online aspects and it has a decent amount of playtime to it.

    Overall: 8.5
    Summary: A worth sequel to the original game. It keeps what made the first game fun, adds in new elements to entertain and polishes up the old stuff. The result is a fun take on the tower defense games. Die toys, DIE!
    Showing only comment.
    WookieKiller247Great review, played the demo and found it loads of fun. All I can say is:

    Hell Yes The Commando! Had me in stitches every time. That, and the 80's hairband music. Love it.
    Posted by WookieKiller247 on 30 Aug 11 at 19:10
  • Darkwings17Darkwings171,458,798
    31 Aug 2011
    5 0 0
    Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
    Developer: Signal Studios
    Genre: Action/Strategy
    Mode(s): Single-player, Multiplayer
    Price: 1200 Microsoft Points
    Launch Date: 17th August 2011

    Toy Soldiers: Cold War is the follow up to Signal Studios hit Toy Soldiers. For those who haven't played Toy Soldiers, it's similar to tower defence games mixed with historic wars in the form of toys. The strategy genre tends to be a love or hate deal, not everyone finds them enjoyable. Most sequels end up changing things that worked well in the original game, and this usually ends up spoiling what could be an interesting and fun experience. Have Signal Studios followed this pattern that many have before, or did they manage to break the trend and supply a golden game?

    Game-play - 9/10

    When you begin the campaign you are introduced to a tutorial on how to use a gun turret, it teaches you the controls of it, before putting you instantly into one of the games mini-games. The second stage after this is another mini-game, after learning about the rocket camera.

    Then you are put into the first map, this is where you learn the rest of what you need to know, such as what each turret does, how to place them on the building spots which are already in place. The main aim of Toy Soldiers: Cold War is to protect your toy box from the invading forces, but it isn't just a case of placing a turret defence and letting it run. Once you have built the turrets you are able to take control of them, and this tends to be more effective. The A.I is skilled but taking control is more rewarding, as it ends up with waves being completed quicker, as well as earning more money.

    It's also how you can build up the combo-meter, which when you hit 40, allows you to press Y. This activates special barrage abilities, chosen at random. Some examples of these abilities include air strikes, taking control of a Commando and being in control of an air strike, instead of the A.I controlled one. The Commando easily outdoes the other barrages. The Commando is a Rambo parody, and shouts Stallone quotes. This can be slightly annoying to listen to, however the attacks certainly make up for it. Armed with a machine gun in one hand, and a rocket launcher in the other, The Commando makes short work of enemy troops and at times can be the deciding factor between success and failure.

    Aside from turrets and barrage abilities, Toy Soldiers: Cold War provides the ability to use a helicopter and other vehicles, most are armed with turrets and rockets, allowing you to deal with the enemies that the grounded defences are unable to due to distance or being overwhelmed. All the vehicles run on a battery supply, which is enough to last a couple of rounds before it runs out, destroying the vehicle. This is remedied by the fact that littered around the skies of the toy box battlefields are batteries which extend the life, but for vehicles like the tank it would be impossible to reach them.

    For those after more than just a campaign, the game provides Versus mode. This is where players can battle it out to see who the more strategic player is. Versus mode puts two toy boxes on the map, and in the middle of the map is two spawn points. One spawns the Americans, while the other spawns the Soviet Union. The aim is to defend your own base, while trying to claim the opponents. This can be helped along by purchasing offensive bonuses, such as tanks. It is a fun mode and with two strategists facing off, could end up lasting quite a while.

    Another mode is Survival. In this mode you are tasked with, yes you guessed it, surviving wave after wave of enemies. The difference between Campaign and Survival is that Survival is continuous, whereas Campaign gives you a small break in between waves to deal with repairs. This mode definitely keeps you on your toes and the occasional enemy air strikes push the difficulty up further.

    Lastly there are the mini-games, which two of them are featured in the campaign as stated earlier. These mini-games are fun detours from the typical war feel that the game provides. The first four mini-games are set up like another war scene, be it on a table top or firing down from a plane. One of them is also stylised to be like the Wild West. The fifth mini-game is about how well you can control a rocket, taking it through a tunnel of moving obstacles, living up to its name of Thread the Needle. The final mini-game is about killing flies. Hit a golden fly and it causes those near it to explode.

    Toy Soldiers: Cold War has fantastic game-play, and it has a fresh almost unique feel to its style and handling. All of the turrets are upgradeable causing them to be more destructive and deadly. The mixture of competitive and co-operative options for two players provides further fun to what is, even in single-player, a great game. The only fault with the game-play itself is that, as with most strategy games, it can become repetitive. Despite this the Decorations (Medals) and challenges add a lot of replay-ability to the game.

    Graphics - 8/10

    Each map looks and feels different, and they have different layouts. The game looks like a tower defence game based on the Cold War, which is exactly what it is. At times it is easy to forget the toy factor to this game, as the battlefields are designed to look as realistic as a toy town or field would. It looks like Signal Studios put as much care and detail into this as a collector of table-top games would into their characters and scenes. A lot of the maps can be destroyed and levelled, which can get rid of items, such as walls and trees, which block your line of sight. When you look at the sky and around the horizon, it reminds you that you are playing on a table-top, as you can see the ceiling and table lamps. However, there were some occasions where the frame rate struggled to keep up with the action, which is a shame as it's one of the few factors which hold the game back slightly.

    Sound - 8/10

    There isn't any background music; however you wouldn't hear it over the sound of warfare. You can hear the troops yelling as they charge headfirst into your fire. The guns sound exactly as they should do, as do the pound of the rockets and the boom of the explosions. It's almost musical in itself, and it can be very satisfying to hear a bomb land and explode, as you watch the enemies remains fly away from the blast radius. The background music is only a small issue between waves when it is silent, unless you skip the waiting period. There is music on the menu screens however, and this music can become quite catchy, to the point where someone might be reviewing the game, whilst listening to the menu music.

    Achievements - 9/10

    Toy Soldiers: Cold War comes with 20 achievements, totalling to 200G, as all arcade games do. Some of these are obtainable by playing through the modes normally. Some require more specific work, such as getting 22 decorations and earning 10 assists in a co-op game. Some of the achievements could prove a challenge to get, and for a strategy game that is just adding a further challenge, making it more fun. Some games award you for completing levels and challenges, but this one also challenges you to work harder and faster to obtain others, such as destroying an IFV before it unloads any units.

    Cold War also comes with Avatar Awards, which are easy to earn. The Mullet and Jacket can be earned in the first level, while the Shirt will require you to survive five rounds in Survival mode, which can be an easy task if you monitor where you place your defences and their health conditions.

    Conclusion - 9/10

    This game is thoroughly enjoyable and it's easy to lose track of time on. The amount of mini-games, medals and challenges will keep players coming back for more, and even once all the achievements are won, players might end up replaying it anyway for the sheer enjoyment. Toy Soldiers: Cold War gets 9/10, as even with a small frame rate issue occurring once in a blue moon; it still proved an enjoyable experience. This is definitely a recommended purchase. While the price is 1200MSP, it's worth it as it proves to be better than some retail games that get released.

    This review was written for Xbox Resource, and modified slightly for True Achievements. I take all my reviews seriously, and try to provide a honest opinion. If you feel the need to negative vote this review, please let me know why, so I am able to improve my writing and content standards.
  • 7 4 1
    here is the link to my video review

    Since there is a word limit on what has to be written here for a review let me tell you about Our Xbox World. OXW is a project I started with good friends of mine. It is an xbox only gaming project. We have a podcast available on Itunes or, we have a youtube page user oxwcast, you can check us out on Facebook "Our Xbox World" and in the coming weeks we will be launching our website None of us work for the industry, we all spend our own money and give complete honest opinions about the games we play. We don't just focus on news and reviews, we also speak upon gamerscore and other facets of Xbox 360 that other companies neglect. We didn't want to try and be an IGN or Trueachievements, we wanted to be a hybrid that covers all of those areas. So check us out, give us a listen and I'm sure a lot of you will enjoy what we have to offer. Thanks for your time.
  • young tugboatzyoung tugboatz164,446
    01 Sep 2011 30 Oct 2011
    4 2 0
    Toy Soldiers (XBLA)

    From when I first played the original Toy Soldiers I really liked it then when I heard about Cold War I was really excited.Cold War is a good solid game that is well worth the 1200 MSP. It has lots of unique levels and new features like Co-op Survival and the minigames!

    As far as sound goes the title has a catchy theme tune and voice acting on some of the characters like Commando. Regarding online you can play 2 player versus on different maps were both players fight for control of the build site in the centre of the map.

    Campaign is played on the American side against the Soviets (Obvious) were you will battle in places from Paris to Egypt. The campaign has five different difficultys so it suits all types of gamers. Another great edition to Cold War is the ammount of vehicles avilable to use in campaign, survival and versus. But it does have its down-sides like the boss monsters which are significantly easier than on the original.

    The minigames are a good addition to the game because you can play and to try and beat freinds high-scores.

    Audio: 3/5
    Graphics: 4/5
    Originality: 4.5/5
    Achievements: 5/5
  • IrishAssasinxxIrishAssasinxx47,016
    01 Sep 2011 01 Sep 2011
    3 10 0
    Toy Soldiers: Cold War

    The original Toy Soldiers game brought a new type of game to Xbox 360 a tower defense game where it can also be a third person shooter

    Ok i load up the game and in the titles you see the U.S.S.R flag being burned and replaced with the American flag, well as a Brit this game screams American propaganda and tells you that the Russians are the devil who fire puppies out of cannons. So the gameplay is pretty good its like the first one but with better vehicles and if you didn't play the first one its basically the same game with different vehicles but the new one has funny elements, i mean you can have a fighter who has a gun and rocket launcher and is called Commando but looks exactly like Rambo and sounds like Sylvester Stallone for me this is mixed messages is he supposed to be Arnie or Sly? (For people who haven't seen Commando its an action film staring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nostalgia critic does a very good review of it)

    This game is good it has an simple interface and fun gameplay but is lacking any type of story it tells you very little about the story i guess you just have to go along with it. The minigames are fun and it has a survival mode like most games now (e.g. Halo:Reach, Cod: Waw, Mw2 etc.) the split-screen mode is pretty good and isn't annoying like the ones on all the new lego games. This game is 1200 Points Holy Shit now thats expensive for a game with no story but it might be worthwhile if your a big fan of tower defense games or you liked the first one, just remember this there's a lot worse you can buy on the Xbox Live Marketplace (Tip: if you don't like the third person shooter aspect put it on general mode and you don't have to)

    Graphics: 5/5 Stars
    Story: 1/5 Stars
    Gameplay: 5/5 Stars
    Replay Value: 4/5 Stars

    Oh and by the way this game is full of clichés