Toy Soldiers



Teen war strategy game with deceptively realistic violence.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's war. The only message is to destroy the enemy before they destroy you. Oh, and that soldiers like to smoke.

Positive role models

These toy soldiers are only doing what they were built to do, but as soulless killing machines in a story-free game with no room for character development, they certainly can't be considered good role models.

Ease of play

The controls work relatively smoothly, but expect a very high challenge level. Bosses are pretty darn difficult, even on "Casual" difficulty.


The presentation of the combatants as toys lessens the effect somewhat, but this is still a very violent war game. Loud, chaotic warfare takes place in every corner of the screen. Gunshots, explosions, and loud cries are almost constant. Enemies are blown to bits, plastic limbs and/or gears and springs are sent flying. Enemies cough and collapse in clouds of mustard gas, or scream and burn under flamethrower attacks. The one thing you'll see none of though, is blood.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

No one is seen smoking or drinking, but there are several written references on screen. Rum is specifically mentioned in several short asides about WWI soldiers. And a pack of cigarettes can be "earned" as a bonus item that appears in a trophy case. There, the cigarettes are referred to as "a soldier's most precious commodity."

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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Available online?Available online
Release date:March 2, 2010
Genre:Real Time Strategy (RTS)
ESRB rating:T for Alcohol and Tobacco References, Violence

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byOxbow February 14, 2012

War in Toyland

Brilliant and addictive and quite violent. No blood or cussing, but plenty of war raging before your eyes, some of which you control and some of which is being carried out by your toy soldier armies. We upgraded to the Americans vs the Soviets and it's even more intense and fun.
Kid, 10 years old October 26, 2013


This isn't violent at all.
Adult Written byVaultBoy September 1, 2011

A good introduction to the ways of war.

Toy Soldiers is an addictive strategy game, that might just teach your kids a bit about WWI. -Violence: This game is set during world war I. There is enough violence to do justice to the horrors of trench warfare without being overwhelming. -Alcohool and Tobacco references are negligible.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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