Toy Soldiers Impressions

The War to End All Wars may not have lived up to its name, but it does look like an interesting setting for a tower defense game.


For all the talk you hear of people being sick of the World War II genre, you almost never hear the opposite refrain: Where are all the World War I games? Well, if you're an Xbox 360 owner, you've got one coming your way. It's called Toy Soldiers, and this WWI-themed game takes the tower defense genre and gives players the ability to jump into the action by controlling their various towers, turrets, and vehicles.

If you've played a video game in the past two or three years, chances are you've played a tower defense game. To put it mildly, the genre has exploded in popularity. We've seen all manner of tower defense games and all manner of skins put over tower defense games but few that really try to innovate on the gameplay. For their part, it looks like the development team members at Signal Studios is trying to do just that. Toy Soldiers takes the traditional elements of the genre, whereby players attempt to withstand waves of enemies moving along a fixed route by placing stationary “towers” that attack those waves in various ways. But what Toy Soldiers does is blur the lines between tower defense and a straightforward action game by letting you jump in on the action yourself.

We were shown a couple examples of this feature during a brief demo of Toy Soldiers at this year's Tokyo Game Show. In one situation, the player placed a turret gun on the battlefield and then took control of the gun, shooting at enemies from the first-person perspective. Later, the player got into a fighter plane on the ground and took off, flying all over the battlefield and shooting at enemies below. This also helped explain the game's title, as the airborne perspective let us see that this entire battle took place within a child's bedroom, with homely wallpaper and a cushy bed appearing just above the tree line that you couldn't see past on the ground.

All the weapons and equipment in the game are era-specific, meaning mustard gas and zeppelins are the norm rather than fighter jets and rocket launchers. The whole game is also wrapped up in an old-time aesthetic, with menu backgrounds and music that feel ripped straight from 1914, as well as graphics that seem fairly impressive by Live Arcade standards. Whether it all adds up to a refreshing take on the tower defense game is something we'll see when Toy Soldiers is released on Xbox Live Arcade down the road.

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