We all used to play with toys as kids. Setting up battlefields and play houses never got old and playing out imaginary wars was a perfect time killer, what else did we have to do? Well those imaginary wars have been brought to life thanks to Signal Studios and Ubisoft’s Toy Soldiers: War Chest for Xbox One and PS4. It’s a simple premise that brought back visions of the battles I once had during my childhood. I received the Hall Of Fame edition which included 4 additional generals which sparked even more nostalgia in me, Duke and Cobra Commander from the G.I. Joe series, Ezio Auditore from Assassins Creed and He-Man. My nostalgic spidey senses were going crazy.
Toy Soldiers: War Chest is a mish mash of real time strategy and third person action as you defend your ‘Toy Box’ from invading enemy forces in a variety of scenarios. Enemy forces range from regular grunt soldiers to rolling piggy banks to deadly rainbow coloured unicorns and to stop them, you must place obstacles in their way. Machine gun emplacements, anti-armour and anti-air weapons are what on offer and it’s up to you on where and when you stick them on the battlefield. Luckily they don’t take long to place as the developers have made sure you’re not away from action for too long and the enemies demise shows them exploding into little plastic pieces.
Unfortunately, Toy Soldiers: War Chest falls flat on its action element. Unlocking the ability to play as He-Man or whomever you chose as your General means you have to take control of any of your emplacements and get your hands dirty. This means mundane combat by holding the fire button down and aiming at the fodder than come your way, it gets rather old, rather quick, as the gauge you fill as you take down the enemy forces which unlocks your ability to play as your general, fills far too slowly. Even once it’s filled, playing as Ezio or Duke is dull and feels tacked on as your melee attacks take down enemies in one swipe and your ranged attack and grenades have limited range and acts as a get out of jail free card. This is not how I envisioned these wars during my childhood.
The battlefields though, are fully destructible and brilliantly designed as enemy waves travel down strategically placed pencils or over hills of sand but up close things look ugly. Toy Soldiers feels out of place on a current generation console with rough textures and edges, the explosions are satisfyingly nice looking though. There is not a lot of variety here either. Enemy soldiers or fairies or even flying pigs repeat to form the forces coming your way at select times. Sometimes you will have extra units available for you to rain some more artificial death such as a Pegasus toy or a mythical bird dropping dice bombs, and these do refresh the initial experience but these are far and few between which means once this sections are over (as they are timed) its back to rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat, yawn!
Childhood toys for girls and boys brought to life.
Ezio, He-Man and G.I. Joe!
Nicely designed battlefields.
Challenging gameplay mixes RTS with third person combat...
...not very well though.
Combat is dull and gets old fast.
Takes too long to gain control of your generals.
Enemy varieties are repetitive.
Graphics up close look rough and last gen.
Toy Soldiers: War Chest brings our childhood toys to life but thanks to the repetitive and mundane combat, it should have stayed in my childhood. The inclusion of fan favourites He-Man and Ezio is a nice touch but doesn’t distract from the poorly executed gameplay mechanics. Try before you buy.