Quite a number of games these days are born from the sizeable fandom of a series or a brand, be it movies, toys and the like, and developers and publishers seek to capitalize on this. While some games are contemporary, releasing a short period after its brand and almost feel like tie-ins, other titles come out after quite some time has passed from the peak of the subject’s popularity, and mostly depend on the loyalty of the aficionados. Toy Soldiers: War Chest can be considered to be one such title, drawing from the nostalgic owners of previous games of the series to buy the latest instalment in the series.
Basically, for newcomers such as me, Toy Soldiers: War Chest is a tower-defence game. Well, in this case it is more of a box defence game since the objective is to defend your base which is a toy box. By using a variety of turrets and similar weaponry, you combat waves upon waves of enemies, in two main modes, being story and survival mode, which are pretty much self-explanatory. What is a welcome feature is that two players can couch-coop through the campaign thanks to local multiplayer, while online multiplayer can feature up to four humans together. There is also the possibility to play against another player in versus mode, which might turn into a marathon. More on that later on.
Gameplay-wise, Toy Soldiers: War Chest is pleasant at first, and quite rewarding too, but the novelty factor runs out in a matter of battles, which means that you will be performing similar tactics and strategies in the battles to come. In the game, you distribute and possibly control a number of stations, which you can set different turret weaponry to eliminate all the opposition soldiers before they can make it to your box. Among the selection of arms there is a normal machine gun turret, adorably manned by a handful of operatives, and also a rocket station, dubbed the Stinger, which spams rocket upon rocket towards the offenders in the attempt of shutting down as many as possible in the least amount of time, which comes in extremely handy when a lot of enemy troops are dangerously close to your toy box.
One of the key features of War Chest is the ability to call upon your chosen hero when reaching a certain amount of killstreaks. These heroes spawn on the battlefield and have a lot of firepower, so in dire situations they will be very welcome to the warzone. In the base game, there are four factions featured, each having their own leader, called hero in the game, such as Kaiser Wilhelm or Phantom. On the other hand, the more popular characters like G.I. Joe or He-Man, or for whatever reason (Ubisoft is the publisher but it still is weird) Ezio of the Assassin’s Creed series, are only available at a premium, being a handful of quid each or four for the price of three. To lock characters behind a paywall is now relatively common, but to have the most anticipated ones behind this fictitious wall is honestly quite shallow, even more so when considering that the three or four purchasable characters together cost as much as the game itself. While it is true that the game costs £12, opposed to the usual £50 or more, it still is quite steep for one character to cost a third of the game’s cost. When considering He-Man then, the price becomes even more of a burden when realising how handicapped the character is. It has nothing to do with bugs or glitches, but being a melee heavy hero, anyone picking the other characters will have a much easier fight, being able to use range as an advantage.
As for graphics, the game does not have the visual prowess of multimillion series, and that is understandable. The graphics are actually rather good and its bright colours are quite easy on the eye. Animations such as little toy soldiers refilling the Stinger’s rockets or rebuilding the Machine turret’s base are incredibly cute, and very well done too. The sound is also good, presenting almost a real life battlefield with all the gunfire booming and whizzing about.
Toy Soldiers: War Chest definitely has its shortcomings as a strategy game, because of its rather limited approach to strategizing battle positions and similar items, as well as the unfortunate pricing scheme on the more popular and desired heroes. It does shine however as a light-hearted tower defence game, which makes the game deserve credit, although not as much as one would have hoped.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.