Toy Soldiers: Cold War Review
An improved tower defense title that packs a punch.
The online stores/marketplaces are littered with tower defence games, ranging from the brilliant to the ridiculously bad. Toy Soldiers, the series, presents its own flavour of tower-defence. With a lot of third-person shooting and vehicular action, Cold War hopes to improve upon its disappointing predecessor.
The game is obviously set during the Cold War, but don’t expect any historical accuracy. You take control of US forces and have to prevent waves upon waves of enemies from entering your Toy Box.
The main part of your defence will be turrets of various types, including machine-guns, anti-tank cannons, anti-aircraft batteries etc. These turrets can, however, only be placed at certain pre-designated locations around the map. These turrets will continue to take out enemies without your interference, but aren’t really that effective under the AI’s control and you’ll be letting a lot of enemy units through if you leave it to the AI. If you want a job done properly, you’ve got to do it yourself; and fortunately in this case, you can take control of your turrets.
Taking control of the turrets also allows you to use certain perks that the AI won’t. Such as being able to remotely control the rockets you fire to manouevre them around obstacles. Another plus, when it comes to controlling turrets, is that taking out a lot of enemies quickly gives you unlimited ammo for a limited period of time and unlock Barrages (which I will cover a little later). All this makes your defence a lot more effective, and of course fun.
You will also be able to supplement your defence with the use of vehicles, of which there is atleast one in every map. These range from tanks to helicopters to jets. They are extremely powerful and are good for taking out the tougher units. They are limited by battery power though, and they explode once they run out of batteries. To be able to use them again, you need to wait for them to be fully charged which takes quite some time.
Barrages are awards you earn for either killing a large number of enemies in a short time, or for personally killing an enemy marked with a red star. These awards range from artillery strikes to air support to tactical nukes, all of which are very good at eliminating whole waves at once. The most interesting of the Barrages is probably the ‘Commando’; which lets you take control of a commando with infinite rockets and bullets, who, at the same time, shouts a lot of cheesy lines at the enemy.
Additional to the single player, there are also co-op and versus modes. While the co-op isn’t a lot more enjoyable than the single-player, ripping each others defences apart in the versus is a lot of fun. There are also a number of mini-games, but they don’t offer any kind of excitement; and the survival mode is good for a couple of plays.
The game does a very good job with the visuals. The 80s setting and the toyish-nature of the game is complemented very well by everything from the surroundings, to buildings within maps, to the character models and art-style. There is an occassional drop in the frame-rate when a lot of action is going on, but it is very infrequent.
The devs have done equally well with the sound. The background music complements the game, and the sound effects, from your machine-gun to the constant explosions, all sound realistic. The very little voice acting, coming almost entirely from the commado, is purposefully cheesy and quite humourous.
Overall, this game is a vast improvement over the previous one, and is probably the best tower-defence game out there. It doesn’t have much replay value, apart from the multiplayer, but it is a game I definitely recommend as an action or tower-defence game.