Over a decade ago, the fantastic real-time strategy game Toy Soldiers debuted and it's back for modern consoles so let's go to war.
Before getting to the review, can I just say that I don't understand when games are ported that were in HD when they initially released yet they call the remaster "HD" as if it wasn't HD before? Toy Soldiers HD isn't the first example of this odd marketing gimmick but I digress. Anyhoo, Toy Soldiers was a wonderful tower defense game on Xbox 360 and it's still a ton of fun nowadays. In fact, many indie games from 10 or so years ago are more enjoyable than most newly-released indies. Anyone else remember Shank, Critter Crunch, and Shatter? With that in mind, Toy Soldiers HD isn't a huge step up from the original but if you haven't played it back in the day or you're a huge fan and want a (hopefully) livelier online multiplayer component then this is definitely something to add to your collection. v1d30chumz 54-211-101-93
For the unfamiliar, Toy Soldiers has you erect defensive structures around the paths that your enemies trek down in order to hopefully thin out and defeat every foe that attempts to invade your base. This will be familiar for anyone who has ever played a tower defense game before but what makes it stand out is the fact that you can manually control these structures which can actually make them more accurate and effective; depending on your aiming skills, of course. This hands-on formula is impressively enjoyable and rewarding.
On top of the basics, you can man various special structures and vehicles that may be already scattered across the battle map. Whether you're picking off soldiers with a sniper's tower or bombing things with a biplane, it's a ton of fun to click on random things and see what they're capable of. You can also upgrade your structures and one aspect that you'll have to stay on top of is repairs because the enemy army will try their darnedest to make all of your hard work explode in your face. I guess it's not the worst thing Germans ever did.
Juggling all of these aspects while deploying a strategically-placed variety of structures is exceptionally entertaining and this formula lends itself well to the local and online multiplayer modes. Although the battles aren't as chaotic as massively multiplayer arena combat, the tight gameplay, challenging strategic component, and immersive manual aiming mode add up to some heated multiplayer action.
When it comes to single player content, the best part of the campaign is the fact that the levels are exceptionally unique and pose distinct challenges such as super-tough bosses which makes re-playing stages to get better grades surprisingly rewarding. However, I wish that the campaign structure wasn't as linear as it is because you merely complete level after level with little that ties it all together. Similarly, there could have been some kind of upgrade system or shop in order to add a customization component which would have made the campaign have a stronger sense of progression, especially if there were upgrades, gear, and special skills to assign.
Toy Soldiers is an excellent game and even though this HD iteration isn't a huge improvement over the original, it's still sure to provide hours upon hours of tower defense fun for fans of the genre. Plus, its multiplayer modes can be a genuine blast.
- + Super-entertaining tower defense gameplay with a clever manual aiming element
- + Fun local and online multiplayer
- + Unique levels make retrying enjoyable
- - Campaign is linear and could use some sort of customization or progression systems
- - Not a huge step-up from the original