The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
The Soviets are descending on Washington DC. Their planes fly low
overhead, hurling paratroopers out into the thick stream of flak from
your AA guns. You lift the chopper off its battery charger and head into
battle even as you wait for your nuke to melt the enemy plastic on the
ground. Those communist figures won’t reach the capitol while an
American toy remains standing!
Toy Soldiers: Cold War takes the
entertaining tower defense-meets-action formula that made its first
installment so enchanting and fast-forwards to the era of Rambo, G.I.
Joe, and Top Gun. The results are just as much fun as last time,
with enough new additions to draw players back into the fight. The
lengthy campaign, now available in local or online co-op, has lots of
variety in the missions, sending your soldiers from Paris to Mount
Rushmore and beyond. A variety of controllable turrets and vehicles
keeps the action flowing and constantly gives players something to do on
the battlefield. Most turrets have secondary firing options, and
building up high multipliers on your kills unlocks barrages – special
attacks with devastating effects. Unfortunately, these fun distractions
show up too infrequently. Even so, few tower defense games feel so
frantic and intense.
While I miss the unique World War I toy vibe
of the first game, Signal successfully apes the conventions of ‘80s war
movies for its American-Soviet nightmare scenario. From the blaring rock
music to the occasional arrival of the Rambo-like Commando toy unit,
this feels like a playroom toy fight brought out of imagination and onto
the screen. The beautiful levels are well designed, and all the
vehicles, turrets, and infantry are detailed and distinct. The only
weakness in the presentation is the camera, which sometimes fails to pan
out far enough to see the full scope of the battle. It’s an uncommon
issue, but one that can have dire consequences on missions with potent
air attack components.
Multiple difficulty settings assure a
well-balanced play experience, and a new checkpoint system lets players
continue their game from any enemy wave they’ve already defeated. In
addition, a sincere effort has gone into offering reasons to come back
after the campaign. The collection of minigames offers leaderboard
rankings, a survival mode can keep advanced players busy for hours, and
versus play delivers increased offensive controls to battle a friend.
taken most of the right steps to keep this franchise in excellent shape
its second go around. The game still lacks storytelling, and I’d like
to see more meaningful progression over the course of the levels beyond
unlocking new units, but at the same time the developer has a keen eye
for creating explosive moments that set fire to the imagination. Whether
you loved the first game or you’re looking for something new, Cold War
is a great place to jump in to experience one of the best tower defense
variations on the market.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.