Not Army Men: Toy Soldiers

By Alec Meer on March 9th, 2011 at 9:02 pm.

100% historically accurate, yes?

If there’s one thing I’m forever hungry for, it’s hi-gloss tower defence games. If there’s one thing I seem to find surprisingly little of on PC, it’s hi-gloss tower defence games. Toy Soldiers was an XBLA hit (selling 500,000 copies) last year, and apparently rightly so – it’s a remix of the oft-repeated formula, with the very notable tweaks of direct unit control, megasplodes and a World War 1 setting. Howitzers, tanks, biplanes – these are yours to assume command of as you attempt to keep the dastardly Foreigns from your door. As is a joyously growing trend of late (see Cthulhu saves the world) it’s now on its way to PC.

64 seconds that will (probably) make you want to play it are below.

How about that World War 1, eh? Not enough of that in strategyland, alas. Especially ludicrously out-of-proportion WW1. Jolly good.

The above is, of course, Just A Trailer, so here’s some singleplayer footage too. From the XBLA version I’m afraid, but the PC version is confirmed by devs Signal Studios for sometime this Spring/ Early Summer as of today. Tally ho!

Meantime, the console toys are due a Cold War-set sequel later this year. We’d better be getting that on PC too, or I’ll show ‘em just how cold a war can be. (I.e. ineffectual blog-based passive-aggression).

More details soon, no doubt.

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52 Comments »

  1. Dominic White says:

    Toy Soldiers is excellent. It may be tower defense on paper, but it’s much more involved than that. Placing the towers is (at most – on higher difficulties it’s even less) half the game. The other half is turret-shooting and tank-driving and even some plane-flying.

    The higher difficulty settings stop your units from even firing unless you’re controlling them directly.

  2. Araxiel says:

    The hivemind…requests…TACOS!
    And this game.

    I’m already in love with this game. It’s all I’ve ever dreamed of (not counting my personal Asari Harem)

  3. Teddy Leach says:

    I’m sure that tank in the header image has been mentioned on Cracked. Also, the target release date for Cthulhu Saves the World seems to be the end of March. Consider me excited.

    Oh yeah, this looks fun as well.

  4. Torgen says:

    Oh, that is GRAND!

  5. Stevostin says:

    Call me silly but I am actually disgusted by the fact it’s WWI and a “kill em all” tower defense type of game. I am ok with WWI as a setting for a game, even a FPS or a RTS. But tower defense is not about one single character story or tactical goals that may imply casualty but that aren’t by themselves requesting mass murder. Tower Defense is about killing them all, that’s what in your mind, you have those zillions of creeps and all your mind is set on genocide. Which is kind of close to what WWI actually looked like. To me this game, as attractive as it looks, makes fun with the very thing that can’t be fun in WWI. That or playing Sim Auschwitz, same kind of puke to me :-/

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Did… Did you just compare this game to Sim Auschwitz?
      … They’re toy soldiers. They appear to be plastic. They burst into their component pieces when shot and reward the player with money. I’ve completely missed why you’re disgusted, and can not understand the points you’ve raised.

      EDIT: I think I’ve got it, you’re objecting to the fact that it appears to be making fun of the death toll of WW1, because it’s a tower defence game? I can sort of see where you’re coming from, but I seriously doubt it is.

    • Rich says:

      I don’t hear anyone crying over those thousands of Russians I sent home with no skin after dumping ton after ton of napalm in almost every mission of World in Conflict. If these RTSs we play were at all real, we’d all have to answer some very stern questions in the Hague.

      This at least seems fairly satirical, like Cannon Fodder.

    • maktacular says:

      @stevostin aye I had the same reaction when I saw it, just don’t think I’d want to play it myself whether or not it is a legitimate grievance. Just seems like the point of it is the thing that made WWI so horrifying, technology grinding masses of people up etc. Maybe i’m just being oversensitive. Or maybe it’s too much Blackadder Goes Forth…

    • Rich says:

      “Or maybe it’s too much Blackadder Goes Forth…”
      Possibly. It wasn’t all like the Somme, but it was a pointless imperial war.

    • amandachen says:

      It’s a game, and it’s either fun or it’s not. Looks like fun.

    • Jake says:

      I’d guess the choice to make this game about toy soldiers rather than just a tower defence game with WWI graphics was deliberately to try and avoid any fallout on this issue. It would be tasteless if it wasn’t so clearly about toys I think, with the toy box references and the kid’s room wallpaper etc.

      PS. is Sim Auschwitz a real thing? I am imagining Theme Hospital but with a darker sense of humour.

    • Dominic White says:

      The toy aesthetic touches every part of the game. The soldiers just topple over as hard plastic figurines when killed (or explode into little plastic chunks), tin tanks have wind-up keys, turrets are placed as wooden-based miniature dioramas, and the bosses are larger-scale models than you’d normally see.

      It’s rather clever.

    • Stevostin says:

      Well, of course they had a sense of how bad it would look with a realistic setting so they thought somehow it would be fine by “toyerizing” the cannon fodder. Me… I don’t feel it’s ok.
      First, why stick to WWI setting if you feel forced to add the “toy” idea to it to mask that TD and WWI are a very ugly association ? You could just use toy soldiers ala Toy Story without any real war reference and it would be perfectly fine (certainly better actually).
      Second, I stick to my troll : who wants to play Sim Auschwitz with every “creep” to be exterminate looking like lego characters * ? Not me. Not even if the game is brilliant – that’s how I know that it’s not only about being fun or not. Somewhere, everyone has his limit, mine lays here. Which is kind of a surprise to me, because again, I don’t feel any issue with other violent gameplays in WWI setting. It’s really the idea of tower defense in WWI that strike me as making fun of something that really isn’t.
      Note that if the game was aimed to educate about how war is an awful thing (like some militant flash games that pop up from time to time), it could be brilliant. But from what I’ve seen, it’s just a huge lack of understanding of what really is the material they’re dealing with. To US citizen, it may be striking to remind that this war killed roughly twice more french in five year than the sum of all US casualties of all US war – this on a way smaller population. And that’s just for the french losses. And sometimes they just send 1000 man to an assault, got 990 killed, replace them and resend 1000 in the same day, for another 990 losses. I looked like a tower defense, somehow. What is so absurdly fun in TD was absurdly awful in the real thing.
      Ah well. Just my two cents. If I was fifteen years younger, I’d probably wouldn’t give a flying fuck…
      * : hem no, it’s not a real thing. At least I hope not.

    • Redcoat-Mic says:

      “Possibly. It wasn’t all like the Somme, but it was a pointless imperial war.”

      No… No it wasn’t. Hell Germany and her allies invaded neutral countries, if they did that now we’d still step in.

      It’s an insult to know nothing about history and claim the millions died for nothing than this game being made!

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      My first reaction was that it’s actually a very logical thing to do. People have been talking about making WWI games for a while now, but the general idea seems to be that it was such a static war that it wouldn’t make for an interesting game. A tower defense game, though, which is all about defending against waves of enemies, seems the perfect fit.

    • Rich says:

      “Hell Germany and her allies invaded neutral countries, if they did that now we’d still step in.”
      Yeeees, but the cause of the war was the squabbling of great 19th Century imperial powers. WW1 represents the last great imperial war before the rise of democracy, communism and fascism, and the idealogical wars that brought.

      I’m certainly not saying they died for nothing. The war was stupid, for stupid reasons, but it had a profound effect on the world and in Britain, at least, it began one of the most significant periods of social change the country had ever seen. That was the beginning of the end of the old upper classes, which were finished off by WW2.

    • amandachen says:

      Sim Auschwitz? I remember playing something like that, oh, maybe twenty years ago. Gaming was much simpler in those days.

      http://images.somethingawful.com/mjolnir/images/cg05172005/Linguica.gif

    • Araxiel says:

      I totaly I agree with you guys. I think even films such “La vita è bella” (Life is Beautiful) take the concentration camps not serious enough. It should clearly be banned. Also should films such as “Inglourious Basterds” or “Indiana Jones” be banned. Humour and war are two things which should never, NEVER be together. And thus we should also ban “M*A*S*H” and “Hogan’s Heroes”
      And of course, we should remove and destroy the most despicable film ever created, it clearly downplays the nazi crimes: “The great Dictator”. This film makes me sick just thinking about it. </irony

    • Fumarole says:

      Funny, I thought the Great War would be the perfect real-world setting for a Tower Defense game. Not that plastic men and tin tanks are real, of course.

    • JFS says:

      I’m a great proponent of someone finally making a WW1 game, but I don’t know about this one. At first, I thought “Oh yeah”, then I watched the trailer and I had similar feelings as the OP… this being a tower defense game is a logical step, but it’s probably a little too close to the real thing. Even with it being toy soldiers and stuff, from the trailer it looked much too much like, well, like WW1 probably really was, and that somehow put me off, in a way that is a bit similar to the “No Russian” level

      Edit: Oh, and if the Brits get steel helmets, so should the Germans, because as far as I know they were introduced in both armies at around the same time. But of course stuff is funnier with Pickelhauben. Oh well. USA.

  6. Kbohls says:

    Man this is one game that when I saw it I immediately wanted to go out and drop money for an Xbox, but being a poor ass student that was not possible; I simply hoped it would come to PC but I didn’t hold my breath. Glad to see it coming however and I will totally buy it up.

  7. skinlo says:

    Looks awesome :)

  8. Coins says:

    Oh, this looks great indeed. I shall have to get this. I will have to get this when it is on PC. Is it already? The text (or my mind) was unclear.

    • Torgen says:

      From the text in teh article between the trailers: “…the PC version is confirmed by devs Signal Studios for sometime this Spring/ Early Summer as of today. Tally ho!”

    • Coins says:

      I’m such a bad reader! Thank you.

  9. nuh uh no way says:

    I am so so so so glad I hesitated and never bought this for console. Whew!

  10. Stranglove says:

    YES THAT MASSIVE WHEEL THING.

    Ehem. This looks good.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Phinor says:

    After trying the XBLA demo and being very impressed by this game, I always wondered if it was one of those games that no one ever noticed or if it actually sold well. I’m glad to hear it’s the latter.

    • Dominic White says:

      Sold well, *and* got two expansions. One where you play on the German side, and one where someone mixed in the wrong toys – you’re up against 1950s style spacemen and one of those old wind-up walking robot toys is the boss.

    • Fumarole says:

      Plastic army men and wind-up robots? Sold.

  12. Rich says:

    Played the Xbox demo and thought it was on to something, but couldn’t get on with the controls. Looking forward to using the good old mouse and keyboard.

  13. man-eater chimp says:

    Please, please, put the trailer music in the game itself. Fits perfectly.

    Other than that, looks awesome!

    • Dominic White says:

      The actual game soundtrack is authentic WW1 music, gramophone scratches and all.

  14. Buemba says:

    Great news. I remember feeling a pang of jealousy when I saw trailers for the game during its release on the 360.

    Now please say Limbo and the Double Fine games are coming as well…

  15. pepper says:

    ooh hardrock version of ghostriders. Interesting choice!

  16. Bhazor says:

    Now if we can just get Pixel Junk shooter and Stacking ported over we’d have every console indie game I cared about.

  17. Berzee says:

    I think you will excuse me if I say,

    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

  18. Eightball says:

    Come on you apes, you want to live forever!?

    /pretty excited

  19. bill says:

    There’s something a bit disturbing about how fun that makes the slaughter of all our grandfathers look.
    Even if it is just toys…

  20. Turin Turambar says:

    Funny, i just had flashes of Men of War…

  21. obie191970 says:

    This is awesome news. Game looked great on 360, controlled like ass.

  22. amandachen says:

    Eh, bugger this for a game of soldiers.

  23. RegisteredUser says:

    Needs blood, gore and dismemberment to be a WW I game.

    I do not approve of the “toy” aspect to make it artificially okay to appeal to a broader kid-including audience as well.
    You’re still mowing down moving, semi-realistic looking people.

    Giev moar realistic wargaem.

    Other than that, I may take a gander when it becomes available.