Have you ever enjoyed a game immensely, only to completely forgot about it later in life? For me, that was Signal Studos’ tower defense game Toy Soldiers. Originally released on the Xbox Live Arcade in 2010, Toy Soldiers is set in an elaborate diorama of various engagements during World War I. Despite receiving two sequels, we haven’t heard anything from this series since 2015’s Toy Soldiers: War Chest. Looking to revitalize the series, Signal Studios is releasing a remaster of the first game, now called Toy Soldiers HD. I sat down with the game’s executive producer, Brett Gow, to briefly talk about the remaster and what changes players can expect.
For the unfamiliar, Toy Soldiers HD is about constructing defenses to hold off waves of plastic enemies attempting to gain control of your (comparatively) supersized toy box. While you can place turrets and purchase units, what made Toy Soldiers so unique was the ability to directly control any unit under your command. This gave players the ability to personally involve themselves in fights, adding a nice layer of strategy to fighting hordes of figurines. Alongside the core campaign, the remaster will include 1v1 multiplayer, all of the previous DLC for the base game, and a horde mode to test your defense-placing skills.
For Toy Soldiers veterans, there’s a decent amount of new or updated content to sink your teeth into. There will be six new campaign missions, three of which Gow designated as “experimental.” When I asked Gow about more details on these experimental levels, he explained they will “include new concepts for how you play the game, but not move too far away from it.” One example he gave me was not limiting where players could place their defenses, which is a stark contrast to the rest of Toy Soldiers’ more restrictive design.
Gow also discussed the various changes made to the overall game — thanks to modern hardware — stating: “With the ability to have more units on screen at one time it feels like a completely different experience.” He elaborated further, explaining that Signal Studios redesigned “major portions of levels” and “adjusted all the waves (of enemies)” that players will be facing. Vehicles also got a substantial rework. Instead of simply regenerating, every vehicle, regardless if it’s a jeep, tank, or plane, is one-time-use. However, you will get more tools of war of these during battles, so it’s up to the player to decide when they want to utilize them.
As for that multiplayer, the mode will see two players battling it out directly to test who can invade the other’s toy box first. Since you can’t solely stay on the defensive, the team switched up the gameplay to add new variables players need to consider. One of which involves loading your units into a mortar and physically firing them at the toy box. If any unit manages to get into your opponent’s toy box, you will receive a health boost to your own toy box, making it tougher for your foe to bring you down.
Gow explained that the multiplayer is “really trying to set up a scenario that allows the player to try different strategies and adjust what they’re doing defensively and offensively.” There’s a big push towards users not being locked into a single way of victory, but having to constantly adjust for what their opponent is doing — similar to popular real-time strategy games.
Along with the visual and audio upgrades, Gow confirmed to me that Toy Soldiers HD will run at 30 fps for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. At the time of writing this, this remaster will not be getting a PS5 or Xbox Series X version. Toy Soldiers HD is set to release sometime in August later this year.