Toy Soldiers: Cold War Review
If you played the original Toy Soldiers, then you already have a very good idea of what to expect from Toy Soldiers Cold War. The World War I era toy soldiers intent on invading your toy box have been replaced with 1980s technology, unleashing powerful tanks, fast-moving ATVs, attack helicopters, and jet bombers on your play room. And this time it's not the long-forgotten Central Powers you have to worry about; you're facing the Red Dawn causing Russkies and their Cold War war machine. Good thing Rambo is on your side…
Toy Soldiers Cold War is essentially a tower defense game, and a lot of the game's mechanics are par for the course for the genre. You've got an enemy that sends attacks at you at regular intervals that you need to prevent from reaching your base, or in this case, toy box. Using a limited bank account you need to purchase defensive weapons that you place at designated build points in an attempt to thwart the enemy attacks. Choosing which defensive weapons to build requires a little though because each attack wave features different weapon mixes, and in one wave you may see a human wave infantry attack and in the next an aerial bombardment. You don't want to try and push back that infantry with AA guns or try to hit the bombers with your machine gun nests. As you destroy enemy units you earn money to spend to buy more defensive weapons, and you can also upgrade your existing weapons or sell them so that you can build a different weapon on the build spot. This allows you to tweak your weapon mix a bit between waves in order to adjust your defenses to meet the upcoming threat.
So far this is all pretty standard stuff for tower defense games, but Toy Soldiers Cold War departs from the script in a couple of ways. First of all, you can actively man your defenses, jumping in and taking control of any of your weapons. When you're controlling a weapon, it becomes a little more deadly and (hopefully) accurate, and you'll also be able to take advantage of the weapons' special abilities such as the guide-by-wire TOW style mode of the anti-tank gun. In addition, there's usually a radio-controlled vehicle available in each level that you can take direct control of and move around the battlefield until its battery runs out (these are toys, remember). The battle tanks and helicopters that you can control in this way are pretty powerful and can really help you stop an attack wave that otherwise would have overwhelmed your defenses.
If while controlling a weapon you score a kill streak long enough to max out your bonus modifier, you'll be given a randomized bonus attack such as a heavy bomber strike or some quality time controlling a Rambo-styled commando. The Rambo character is both funny and fun to play, unleashing deadly machine gun and RPG fire while spouting 80s action movie hero catchphrases.
The game is played as a progression of levels set in military miniatures styled dioramas modeled after the various locations that the Cold War would have been fought had it turned hot. The basic goal of each level is to prevent the enemy units from reaching your toy box, and failing that, at least keeping enough of them out of it so that they don't destroy it completely. In addition, there are a number of bonus objectives per level, such as taking out a certain number of enemies using the helicopter's infrared scope or destroying toy cars with the tank. If you survive the level your performance is evaluated on a number of factors that are all accounted for in your final score. The time to complete the level (you can call in attack waves early), bonus objectives completed, toy box damage, left over cash not spent on defenses or upgrades, and more will determine where you land on the leaderboards and give you a benchmark to shoot for the next time you play a level. If topping your previous best score isn't enough to motivate you to play through the game a second time, you can always bring in a friend to experience it in co-op mode.
Final Rating: 86%. Toy Soldiers: Cold War will be the most fun you've had with your army men in years.