Review: Toy Soldiers: War Chest
Playing with tin or plastic figures nowadays is no longer necessary, unless you are a hipster, and reflects the mainstream trend of the younger generations who rather deal with other toys or sit in front of a screen. This basis is in the favor of Ubisoft and Signal Studios some ways, because their toy box is a digital playground for all. And so comes War Chest, the third opus in the Toy Soldiers franchise, that blends elements of tower defense, strategy and action – and this time more varied than before.
Essentially Toy Soldiers: War Chest continues to be a tower defense game where you build towers and improved them gradually to stop advancing enemy waves of destroying your toy box. Completing a wave get you money, which you use to improve your equipment, ranging from anti-infantry guns to the air defense. This set up boost your turret’s damage, let them handle more damage or get a longer range enhancement. So far so this is nothing really unusual or groundbreaking.
The basic package of Toy Soldiers: War Chest costs $14.99 and includes a total of four armies (8 in the Hall of Fame edition), each with its own Hero or leader. Kaiser controlled soldiers are First World War themed, Phantom leads a sci-fi oriented troops to the battlefield, and Starbright is a My-Little-Pony-like colorful army while Darklord is an image to the fantasy medieval age. Every army has its own units, upgrades and level.
When you play, you however do not take care of just setting up the towers, as you can attack rather directly. By pressing a button you assume the direct control of a cannon and you personally get rid of opponents. By getting multiple kills, you fill a power gauge on the left of the screen to a maximum of three stages. The first stage allows you to control the army hero, followed by summoning a Zeppelin bomb or call for Special Forces that can be quite useful in certain situations, such as particularly strong bosses.
The hero units are time constrained, but you can easily extend its summon by collecting batteries on the battlefield. It’s a nice, entertaining diversion in your everyday tower defense game and the campaign does its part to the fact that everything will not get boring. Away from the campaign, there is still a local co-op mode for two players, a four-player online mode with public and private matches and weekly challenges – more than enough options to keep you busy for a while.
The technical implementation tested on an Xbox One version made me feel that the developers didn’t quite succeed mastering the machine. And that’s all the more surprising because War Chest is not the graphically demanding game. Nevertheless, under certain circumstances, such as during larger waves of enemies (even if there are no large enemy masses), frame rate noticeably shatters. These moments don’t really make the game unplayable, but are nevertheless very annoying.
Further on, the game has a hefty amount of micro-transactions, although it must be said they were placed discreetly in the background and will not be constantly rubbed under your nose. Through successful missions and battles you earn your marks, which in turn helps you purchase upgrades and new equipment for your turrets and heroes. Those marks can be optionally buy for real money – ranging from $1.99 for 2,000 marks to $19.99 for 26,000 marks. Through the normal games you get enough marks to unlock step by step, the individual things. The micro-transactions represent the case of a forced shortcut that you can safely ignore.
Away from the basic package there’s also four additional and quite sexy armies as DLCs. Each cost $4.99 or $14.99 for all. One of these additional armies are based on Assassin’s Creed and bring Ezio as a hero with himself. There is also the GI Joes and Cobra Commander, based on the action figures series from Hasbro, as well He-Man.
As with the fractions contained in the basic package they bring their own units, designs and sound effects with it, and Ezio and He-Man are more melee-oriented, quite different from the other ones. Whether you think it’s worth paying the extra cash is all up to you, but there is hardly anything to criticize.
Toy Soldiers: War Chest was reviewed using an Xbox One downloadable code of the game provided by Ubisoft. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC in both retail and online stores releases. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Four different armies with their unique traits
• Co-op and online multiplayer mode
• Additional ideas to a tower defense game
• Four fun armies have to be purchased additionally
• Some technical bugs
• Not up to specs with current graphical trends