2010 tower defence game Toy Soldiers has two big neat ideas: it looks like a toybox upended onto battlefield dioramas built on bedroom tables; and you can take to the battlefield yourself to control units and vehicles. It's a good'un, and today it relaunched with an 'HD' version. I liked the original enough to buy it on both Xbox 360 and PC, but wasn't interested in getting it again until I heard Toy Soldiers: HD offers more than the usual high-res texture overhaul.
So, tower defence: hordes of enemies are charging towards your base, trying to bash it down. You can pop down turrets at predefined points on the map, from machineguns and mortars to flak and flamethrowers. You can also take over units to aim manually, or sometimes hop into vehicles like biplanes and clockwork tanks. It's themed around a World War 1 toy box, see, with little toy men and toy vehicles and oh, it's quite cute for something which does still capture some of the horror of WW1 forces charging into machinegun fire or gas. I particularly like how the battlefield is just a diorama, with the rest of the rooms they're in visible from the right angle. Cute.
The blurb says this new version is "overhauled and upgraded with new content, skins, gameplay, expanded game modes, improved controls and graphical upgrades," including all the original DLC and some new levels. So far, so 'HD re-release'. Then I saw Destructoid's review says it's also rearranged some levels, rebalanced a bit with more turret upgrade options and more vehicles in some levels, and huh, that I actually am interested in. Destructoid do note that this cuts the co-op mode, mind.
I wish this offered a discount for folks who own the original on Steam. As is, I'll likely wait for a sale. I have seen some folks on the Steam forums calling this a "cash grab" and claiming that Signal Studios abandoned the last Toy Soldiers game, War Chest, which I only note because a fella from publishers Accelerate Games responded with some curious gossip.
"Not at all, Ubisoft owns War Chest," the Accelerman said. "The team at Signal Studios want to fix it, but they neither own the game nor do they have access to it. They'd love to do it, but they aren't allowed to do so. They have asked for access but haven't been allowed."
Well welly well well!
Toy Soldiers: HD (a maddening colon) is out now on Steam for £24/€25/$30. It's also hitting Switch, Xbone, and PS4 today.