A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that despite it's kid-friendly-sounding title, Toy Soldiers is an incredibly violent, surprisingly realistic war game. It should be noted that even though the soldiers in the game are meant to be toys (they shed no blood and fall into pieces when destroyed), they are not the all-green, obviously plastic army men like the ones in Toy Story. These are modeled after old-fashioned collectible toy soldiers that are realistically colored and detailed.
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What's it about?
TOY SOLDIERS is a real-time WWI combat game set on a tabletop. Two armies of realistic-looking military toys will advance upon one another, each attempting to take over the other's toy box. Players use large machine guns, mortars, howitzers, chemical weapon gases, flamethrowers, and bombs to destroy oncoming enemies that may be on foot, horseback, in jeeps or tanks. In the solo campaign mode, giant boss vehicles sometimes lumber toward your base, dropping tons of troops as they go.
Is it any good?
Toy Soldiers may be chaotic and violent, but it is also really, really good. The visuals are nothing short of gorgeous, and the antique-y look that overlays the whole game makes this real-time strategy game feel very special and unique. In a way, it seems like the whole "toy" aspect was only layered onto the game to make it look amazingly cool (which it does). If the game were made as a "realistic" WWI strategy game, it would still be a great example of the genre. But the unique settings and look of the game do add a whole lot.
It can be very challenging, but in a way that makes you want to keep trying over and over, deploying new strategies each time your base gets overrun. For the $15 price tag, Toy Soldiers is a particularly great buy -- but only for players who would be old enough to handle a "real" war game.
Online interaction: Like most Xbox Live Arcade games, online multiplayer allows for un-moderated voice chat.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the true history of World War I. That particular war is not as commonly used as a setting for video games (or movies or TV, for that matter) as WWII or other wars that followed it. This game brings up a perfect chance to introduce the topic.
Families can also talk about violence in video games. Does violence bother you if there's no blood? Does lack of blood make a game less violent? Or is there no real difference? Are there any ways in which a game without blood can actually be more violent than one that does feature animated blood?
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