Toy Soldiers: Cold War

8.5 Overall Score

Written by on August 26, 2011 in


Toy Soldiers: Cold War is a tower defense-esque game that pits you up against waves of toy enemies who want nothing more than to infiltrate your toy box. For every enemy that gets into your toy box, you get closer and closer to defeat. If you have played the original Toy Soldiers than you should already be familiar with the mechanics, but this new installation has brought us decades further into the future with the Cold War. The mechanics of the game are very simple, but strategic.  To stop enemies from invading, you must place heavy weapons to crush the invading forces. Weapons include turrets, mortars, artillery, anti-tank guns, anti-air guns, and chemical launchers. Placing weapons cost money and can only be placed on designated dirt patches. Artillery and anti-air guns are larger than the other weapons and must be placed on the bigger plots. After placing a weapon you can either leave the weapon to fire itself or take control and use it yourself. I felt a lot safer controlling the turrets myself since I could take out enemies faster than the computer could. In several levels you will also get the chance to pilot a battery-powered vehicle like a heavy tank, fighter jet, or a helicopter. These vehicles can easily turn the tide when you are being overwhelmed, but don’t last long since they run on battery power. No fear though, if your vehicle runs out of juice it will automatically respawn and begin to recharge itself. You might even be lucky enough to find batteries around the map that will increase your time with your vehicle.

Each level should take you between 10-15 minutes to beat it, depending on your difficulty, if you are playing solo, and whether you pass it on the first try. Yes, you can play the campaign on co-op. “Normal” mode is where I felt most comfortable and didn’t have to restart a level until I met the last boss in the game. If you do fail a level you can always perform a “Wavelist Rewind” which lets you rewind to a particular wave within a level, without having to restart the level all over again. You will find this very useful because if you fail a level due to having the wrong weapons installed, you can always go back a few waves and rethink your strategy. If your units are dying too quickly, you can always upgrade or repair them, based on how much money you have to spend. Each unit has 2 upgrades which you will unlock throughout the game that make them stronger, adds rate of fire, or even attaches a secondary weapon to the unit itself. These upgrades are worth the cash and often only take 5 seconds to be enabled.

Bosses are back in Toy Soldiers: Cold War too. Every few levels you will face off against an enemy that will take everything you have in your toybox to defeat it. My personal favorite was the submarine boss, who deployed troops onto my battleship via bridges. Controlling the fighter plane and bombing the sub was an epic moment and an intense challenge. In addition to bosses and endless waves of enemies, each level has 2 challenges for you to complete, ranging from taking down 5 helicopters with an Anti-Air gun to launching a nuke. For every challenge you complete you earn a medal, with 22 medals possible throughout the campaign. These added a little bit more fun to each level because it added the challenge of a side mission.

Aside from the units you will be purchasing, you can also earn Turbocharge and Barrage specials that easily turn the tide of battle. Kill 20 enemies while on a turret, without losing your multiplier, and earn Turbocharge which allows your gun to fire without having to reload for a short period of time. Turbocharge is nothing compared to a Barrage though, as Barrages can decimate entire waves with little effort. My personal favorite is “Commando” where a Rambo-like character pops out of a plastic toy package, holding a heavy machine gun and an RPG. You get to control Commando and control his movements as he decimates waves of enemies and spits out hilarious lines like “This one’s for you Jimmy!” or “That’s what I call search and destroy!” Getting 40 kills with a Machine Gun turret earns you the Commando Barrage, while other Barrages are earned by shooting an enemy soldier with a red star above them. Each level should have at least 2 soliders which you can shoot to earn Barrages.You have to shoot these soldiers yourself though. You can’t have one of your auto turrets do all the work for you! Other Barrages include control of an AC-130 gunship, an artillery strike, a tactical nuke, and more.

Toy Soldiers: Cold War is different than other war titles like Black Ops or Battlefield 2 in that it is set in someone’s room. If you look around the outside of the levels you will see furniture, beds, posters, and other objects you would find in an ordinary room. Strewn across the battlefield you will find aerosol cans, old school VHS tapes, fireworks, and matches. All of the soldiers in the game are essentially toys, so taking down enemies shouldn’t give you a sense of guilt; it’s just like when you were a kid and you played with your Army Men (or Barbie warriors) in your room.

Along with the campaign is several other modes such as Versus, Survival, and Challenge. Versus mode pits you up against another human player either locally or online. Each player is given money to start out with and must balance being offensive and defensive at the same time. Just like in the campaign, you have a toybox, but along with protecting your own toybox your other objective is to get 20 units through your enemy’s toybox. I had a problem with this mode because there wasn’t a tutorial on how to play Versus. It basically just dumped me into a game and I started using my money for helicopters and tanks, trying to get into the enemy’s box. The problem was that since I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t realize that I had to play defense as well. I screwed up big time and the enemy was able to casually walk over and capture my toybox without a fight. The second game I played I got massacred because the other player kept using his Commando to destroy all my units while his vehicles broke through my lines. I suggest playing locally with someone at the same skill level as you before jumping online.

Survival mode consists of 3 maps where you try to see how long you can survive. Make it to Round 9 and you even earn an achievement! The first map I chose came with 7 plots for units and a medium tank. The first few rounds were very easy and I didn’t have any problem killing the infantry, but the difference between campaign and survival mode is that the waves don’t pause and wait for you to get ready. The waves in survival mode are unrelenting and don’t give you a chance to breathe. To add to the chaos, every few rounds enemy planes would fly over and bomb my turrets, damaging or destroying them entirely. If you can keep up with the pace you should be rolling in money in no time, so upgrades aren’t hard to come by. I was able to make it to Round 11 before my defenses crumbled and enemies started entering my toybox. By the time I had hit the laser tanks I was done for. My tank had been destroyed, all I had left was turrets, and the enemies greatly outnumbered me. The other 2 maps range in climate, have a different layout to them, and feel completely different than the others. Survival mode is great for killing an hour of time if you don’t want to jump into the campaign or Versus.

Challenge mode is a series of minigames that require you to fulfill goals like shooting golden flies, grenading enemies on nesting dolls, or guiding a rocket through a maze of spinning tunnels. If you played through the campaign you will have played three of the challenge modes already, as the first three training missions in the game are included in the challenge mode. If you are looking to compete with your friends for fastest time completing a challenge, or the most enemies killed than this mode is perfect for you, because it evaluates your performance. It even shows you what the best score in the world is on that particular level (I suspect some cheating on some of those high scores).

If you are a fan of the original Toy Soldiers or are looking for a good military game that doesn’t have Call of Duty or Battlefield attached to the title, then I couldn’t recommend Toy Soldiers: Cold War highly enough. Toy Soldiers: Cold War is rated “T for Teen” and is out now on the Xbox Live Arcade for only 1200 Microsoft points.

A download code for Toy Soldiers: Cold War was provided to TMG for the purpose of evaluation and review.


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Author: Loren Nikkel View all posts by
Hardcore Xbox and occasional PC gamer. I love to play multiplayer and co-op games where strategy is key.

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