Toy Soldiers Cold War is the last instalment in the Summer of Arcade titles, and this is the title I have been anticipating since its announcement.
Toy Soldiers released early last year receiving some favourable reviews. Signal Studios, the creators of Toy Soldiers have hit it right again with their sequel Toy Soldiers Cold War.
Toy Soldiers: CW is a tower defence game where quick reactions are as vital as strategic thinking. With the sole objective of defending your toy box, you are required to set up gun emplacements to stop the oncoming waves of enemy forces. With the availability of six different type of guns including Machine Gun, Mortar, Anti Tank, Artillery, Anti Air and gas each with their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, you also have the ability to jump into the gunner seat of any tower you have created, this allows for greater fire power and accuracy.
Alongside the gun emplacements you also have the opportunity to control a range of cold war era vehicles these include: IFV tank, Heavy tank, gun helo (which resembles a Huey), Attack helo (an Apache design) and an F-14 fighter jet. These vehicles are only available in certain missions and can be a life saver in a tight situation.
Toy Soldiers: CW takes heavily from the 80’s culture of the USA vs. USSR and popular films of that era such as Rambo, Top Gun and Red Dawn. In fact, the first mission after the training level sees you take control of a Rambo like action figure as he fires seemingly endless bullets from his M60 while blasting off a couple of bazooka rounds from his shoulder. Other instances include a battle over an air craft carrier where you can zip around Top Gun style in an F-14. Those who know about the Cold War era will recognise some of the locations included in the game, such as: the Suez Canal and the Vietnamese jungle.
Cold War differs slightly from the original Toy Soldiers as it includes kill streaks, these can be gained by achieving a 40X combo or by killing an enemy commander. These kill streaks are random and can range from a mortar strike to a B-52 bomber raid to a commando which rips out of a action figure box or even a nuclear bomb. Thankfully, these kill streaks are far enough apart to mean that the game isn’t made to easy. The ability to store your kill streak until needed means you can use it in sticky situations. The game also features a new ability called rewind which allows you to correct a costly mistake during a wave; however, using this will lower your final score at the end of the mission.
An annoying feature of the game is the AI operating the tower defences, although the weapons have the ability to reach a great distance, the towers controlled by the AI will not fire until the enemy is almost on top of them. Even in close proximity the towers may miss an easy shot, this means that to get the best out of them you need to be in the gunner seat. Operating the towers, whilst being fun can become a frantic rush in the closing waves.
The single player campaign can be completed in about 5 to 6 hours, alongside the main objective of defending your toy box you can complete side objectives, or “decorations”, these can add some replayability to the game. Additionally, after completing a campaign mission you unlock the Elite and General game difficulty, the Elite sees you having to control all the towers yourself with no help. Whereas the General difficulty is the polar opposite as you cannot take control of any of the towers; this mode emphasises the AI problem of a short detection ranges for firing. Also a disappointing fact, is that where the original Toy Soldiers allowed you to play as the Allies and as the Axis Powers, Cold War only allows you to play as the US.
Other modes from the original game return including Survival mode, the objective of survival mode is to hold out against endless waves of enemies as long as possible. Although there are only three maps to play, the locations vary and makes each battle feel fresh. Survival features three modes to play: Classic, Lockdown and Hardcore. Classic, is the standard endless waves of forces defend as long as you can; whereas Lockdown is the same, except to place a gun on emplacement you must first buy that build site, this adds some more strategy to the game.Finally, Hardcore sees you having to fight with towers that must be fired by you and will not fire automatically. Survival can be played in Co-Op online and via split-screen.
Another returning mode is Versus, this mode only features three maps and the aim is to build towers to defend against waves of forces your opponent sends against you. You can also take control of your very own commando and fight it out in the middle of the field, the Rambo like figure features for the US and a figure called Ivan for the Red Army. Using the commandos you can fight it out over neutral build sites which can give you an advantage.
The final game mode in Toy Soldiers: Cold War is the Minigames, these are short arcade type games, with a couple of them featuring in the tutorial mission. These minigames are linked to leaderboards, where you can compete against your friends for the highest score. The minigames are good for filling up a short period of time, but won’t hold much of your attention.
In closing, Toy Soldiers: Cold War lives up to the Toy Soldiers name, fans of the first game are sure to enjoy this one. Although it does have the slight let down with the AI but with a close eye on the gun emplacements it won’t let the game down too much. The Survival, Versus and Minigame modes will keep you returning so that little dose of plastic warfare. For 1200 MSP, it’s a bargain.
Toy Soldier: Cold War is out now on Xbox 360 for 1200 MSP.
Rating: Very Good