World War I was incorrectly labeled as, “The War to End All Wars”, but rightly so. It was when all the various technologies emerging at the turn of the century suddenly became used for warfare and while history buffs might find that fact interesting, the soldiers in the trenches at the time, probably not so much. Toy Soldiers allows you to play from the standpoint of a war between World War I era toys. Taking up the mantle as either the Germans or the British forces, the game immediately tosses the player right into the mud for a vast view across No Man’s Lands.
Noticeably attempting to fill the role of a tower defense title, Toy Soldiers easily accomplishes this mission with grim efficiency. From the onset of the introductory level, the game has a design that belies its initial underlying simplicity. Players place sandbag surrounded weapon nests on either large or small positions to defend the routes leading to their toy box, which they then must prevent enemy troops from entering. This is intriguing as certain weapons have one of two differing size requirements. A machine gun nest, for instance, can be placed on either a large or small weapon spot. Conversely, an artillery piece or anti-aircraft gun can only be placed on a large terrain position. Thankfully, the game denotes the positions capable of accepting what weapons quickly and easily without leaving any room or doubt.
Replay value definitely stands out as this is probably one of the best arcade games I’ve played on the 360 in a while and will keep going back to for a good time to come. The overall gameplay truly is an amount of whimsy fun mixed with genuinely compelling gameplay in a fashion that works so well that I was utterly surprised. For a game that seemingly came out of nowhere, it was definitely a hidden gem. For those still on the wire, not sure whether to charge forward or not the demo is currently available on Xbox Live and even at 1200 points is well worth the price.
Final Score: A+ (9.5 / 10)
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