System: Xbox Live Arcade (Exclusive)
Developer: Signal Studios
Genre: Tower Defense
This year has seen the release of some crazy things for the Xbox Live arcade market. Indie games, puzzle games, 2-d games, you name it they’ve probably got it. One game that really caught my eye was Signal Studio’s Toy Soldiers.
Released at the beginning of March, Toy Soldiers brought a handful of achievements and a few nifty avatar items (if those are your thing) along with a rather easy to play and mindlessly fun game.
Toy Soldiers is definitely something I recommend adding to your Xbox game collection, especially if you are a fan of strategy or tower defense games. It features a solo mode, in which the player (British) fights through various battles in World War One, complete with a time line (this battle was the introduction of tanks into warfare, thus you get a tank) that adds something new to your game.
You get a base, a handful of pedestals and some pre-allocated units and funds to begin fortifying. Battlefields are set up as an open diorama, the edges of the box sometimes littered with bottles and various items, and when you take flight in the biplanes you can get a view of the “room” your toy soldier playset is set up in.
Campaign takes the form of 12 missions from the allied point of view. You play throughout the history of WWI, which opens the play field for new devices and units.
The game has a nice visual edge, and though the graphics aren’t something you would see on an E3 showroom floor, Signal Studios did a good job really giving everything a toy feel. Tanks have a wind up gear on the back, when soldiers or units are destroyed they break apart into little pieces, and it really ads to the “toy” aspect.
The units themselves, be them stationary or mobile, also have very fun animations. Larger scale howitzers go from a small two man cannon to a massive piece of plastic machinery with a three or four man crew, and a little crane to load your next shot.
Multiplayer plays just like a campaign mission would. One person plays Britain, the other Germany, you pick the battlefield and set up allocated money, unit restrictions, drivables and other various rules before they start up the match. During a multiplayer round, each person works on getting their soldiers into the boxes of the other man (same as in Single player) without losing their own.
As you build and use stationary guns, howitzers, and drivable tanks and planes you accumulate points for destroying multiple toy soldiers at once, they fill up a bar that allows you to use Barrage. Barrage sends a volley of A.I. soldiers and artillery strikes to rock the opponents screen and base, giving you an opportunity to launch a wave of Cavalry, tanks, gyrocopters, and various other units based upon the map you battle on.
All in all toy soldiers is a great game to play with friends, family, or if you just want to kill a bit of time without having to go through the motions of starting up other games. It features a nice soundtrack of era music, sepia toned loading screens with old war quotes, and tons of other minor details that really give the game a nice shine. Also for around $10, how could you go wrong?
Final Score: 8.0/10 (Great)