Chances are that if you were born sometime after 1987 then your recollections or impressions of the cold war are easily unimpressive if existent at all. The “cold war” refers to a long running political conflict between the communist soviet states and, primarily, the United States from 1946 to the early 1990s. The result of this long running conflict, aside from the obvious civil wars, revolution combat, invasions, and military conflict, was a fascination with related toys that spanned decades. What better setting for Toy Soldiers: Cold War to take place than in the bedroom of a 1980’s child fascinated with military trinkets.
Signal Studios’ sequel to Toy Soldiers, Toy Soldiers: Cold War, is a fun new take on their initial tower defense gameof the same name. The setting, specifically the era, allows for a great amount of movie and toy box nostalgia for those of us in the 30+ demographic, and incorporates all of the fantastic cheesy action that made the 80s so great. The game features 1980s-era military technology, and is like previously eluded to it is based around the idea of military aggression escalating between the United States and the USSR. Toy Soldiers: Cold War features a blend of third-person action and strategy.
The toy box is your tower and there a number of places where you can set up your camps. The exciting part about your camps is that you can jump in and out of them to control them at any time. Often I felt as though I needed to participate in this first person action to ensure success. The ability to control your RC vehicles also comes in handy as you may choose to let your camps battle it out while you fly around in your RC helicopter unloading a wave of missiles so long as your battery is charged. Increasing your score also allows for special barrages and one of the very first barrages I achieved unlocked our good friend Rambo..erm..”commando” who was released spewing a healthy dose of cheesy lines and bazooka blows while you lead him to take out a wave on enemies on the ground. There are all kinds of strikes and bombs to unlock to help you destroy the waves of toy soldiers, in all matter of military aggression, who are coming for your toy box.
As I played through the campaign the more waves I killed the more money I made. This is important because your camps will need repairs and upgrades throughout the game. You will need these upgrades as you prepare for the inevitable boss that comes at the end of the level. It seems like one foul swoop of the boss, or a simple roll over, and all your camps are gone, so it is important to consider your tower defense strategy in the midst of all of the action.
There are numerous multiplayer options available in Toy Soldiers: Cold War and given the campaign and the multiplayer modes this game is a great value for your dollar. Unlike more tower defense games Toy Soldiers: Cold War will keep you interested for a long time. While the game could easily become stagnant and repetitive, it rarely does. The Top Gun and Rambo references, the overt nostalgia, and the variety in game modes, all allow for hours of enjoyment. Becoming a decorated hero means earning achievements for things like using a fighter’s machine gun to destroy a soviet fighter or surviving more than 9 rounds in any survival game. Decorations will help you squeeze even more value for your dollar out of Toy Soldiers: Cold War on Xbox Live Arcade.
Toy Soldiers: Cold War by Signal Studios is available on XBLA and according to their official website we may be in store for some upcoming DLC.
Sources: http://www.signalstudios.net/toy-soldiers-cold-war/cold-war-propaganda/ http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/what%20was%20the%20cold%20war.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_War
An ITSP review story by MyaSharona
If you have kids, or ever spent time with one you already know how early our fascination with space can start. This is probably why any time I see an adorable spaceship (like the one found in Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet) I can’t help but sing the preschooler’s Zoom Zoom Zoom song and it may also be why I am fascinated with Nasa’s space stream on Roku. Regardless of the reasons, space is a beloved mysterious location that is perfect for the imagined dangers that can only take place in video games.
Just before I began my adventure with Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet I mentioned, in passing, to my boyfriend about my newest project. As I eluded to in the game preview (here), I was extremely excited to get my hands on the video game work of fellow Sheridan Alumni, renowned artist, Michel Gagne. In typical retro gamer fashion my fella asked me if it was anything like Solar Jetman of NES fame. I of course had no recollection of the game (don’t worry kids, one day you too will complain of a memory that isn’t what it used to be) and decided to play the two side by side.
Here’s where ITSP and Solar Jetman are similar:
- Multi Directional Shooter
- Unearthly Planet
But that is about as far as I conclude the similarities are rooted. You will of course find the metroidvania style play in ITSP that is sure to appeal to the older more experienced gamer.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is an exploratory, puzzle solving, testament to the ‘art as video games’ mentality. With both a single player campaign and online multiplayer modes the short but satisfying experience may draw you in for multiple visits. ITSP includes smooth controls and a polished game play experience which means there is something for everyone in this Summer of Arcade gem.
Your journey through the ominous sounding Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet begins on a small platform with an adorable alien. The assembly of his/your spaceship occurs and ‘voila!’ you are ready to navigate out of your home hub and into the planet. Starting with the bare minimum it is up to you to locate and discover your next point of interest. Don’t worry you are not completely alone in this task; your trusty map will point you in the right direction. During your gameplay you will navigate through various areas of the planet (organic, mechanical, etc), fighting foes, collecting weapons tools upgrades and bonus assets, all while solving puzzles. In familiar fashion many paths and points within the specific area you are exploring will not be accessible to you until you acquire the next tool or upgrade. For this reason you had best be okay with backtracking to previously visited areas.
The beautifully rich and creative environments and creatures are nothing short of artistically inspiring. The silhouette style presentation of the graphics are perfectly suited for this style of gameplay. Each and any screenshot is a prime example of the saturating experience with ITSP graphics.
The controls of your spaceship in ITSP are very intuitive and was probably the biggest relief for me when switching from Solar Jetman. Navigate your ship and your tools using the analogue sticks and a quick hit of the bumper will reveal your wheel of weaponry. Use your weapon wheel to assign four quick access tools to the XYAB buttons. In some of your larger battles/puzzles you may wish that you could more easily switch out your four tools for faster reaction to the environments and enemies but the game is easy enough without giving you everything.
This brings me to my only real criticism of the game. ITSP is easy, short and easy. The length can be forgiven by the fact that the game also contains an online multiplayer experience (with up to 4 players) called ‘Lantern Run’. Lantern Run will add some replay value to your purchase and the chaos contained therein will guarantee loads of fun for you and your friends. Aside from getting crazy with more players and more lanterns, though, ITSP is a pretty easy game. Achievement hungry players will have no trouble getting all of the ‘bwoop bweep’ they desire in one play through. Even though there are no verbal cues there are visual ones and it won’t take your hard earned BFA to pick up on them.
Even though your experience may be brief, and not at all like taking the SATs, it will be a satisfactory one. The audio and visual cinematics keep you wanting more. Upon discovering the final boss battle of this oh so twisted planet I found myself hoping that it wasn’t.
So is Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet the new Solar Jetman? My answer is no. ITSP is a new and visually delicious puzzle game with fluid controls, polished gameplay, featuring unique characters and environments.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is available NOW on Xbox Live Arcade.
Grab a lantern and let’s play!
Game Preview: Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
The XBLA Summer of Arcade has kicked off to a fantastic start. With Bastion and From Dust already sitting snugly in our 360′s tomorrow’s addition of the anticipated Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is going to be a great addition! That’s right tomorrow, August 3rd, get ready to
“[Challenge] the notion that videogames are not art.” -Xbox Press Release
The game style has been compared to that of Metroid, Castlevania, and Shadow Complex, and the animation is born from the mind of renowned artist, Michel Gagne (who is not only a fellow Sheridan alumnus and a fellow Canadian, but has worked on some of my favorite animated films of all time). The colors, the textures, the minimalist details are artistically engaging but more on that in my upcoming review.
“Blending exploration, intense shooter action, and puzzle-solving with gorgeous artwork, rich storytelling and Hollywood quality presentation, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet draws you into an epic journey full of surprises, danger and wonder.” claims the E3 press release.
Insanely Twisted Game Features Include:
- Striking and appealing visual style by renowned artist Michel Gagné.
- Innovative and intuitive puzzle design mixed with intense action sequences.
- Unique and visually stunning creatures and environments.
- Rich worlds and captivating back stories.
- Explore the worlds of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet with friends with multiplayer.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is available Wednesday August 3rd through Xbox Live Arcade. And if you still aren’t sold then check out the official trailer and be sure to check back soon for my FULL REVIEW which will be posted at GamerFitNation.com.
When will mad scientists learn? You can’t accidentally make an explosive woman without tipping a few lab beakers. From our last Twisted Pixel adventure with Splosion Man a new splosion man has emerged from the smoke, MS Splosion Man!
Ms. Splosion Man is the action platform adventure to sequel Twisted Pixel’s 2009 hit Splosion Man. Those crafty scientists, were so ecstatic with their capture of Splosion man that they filled the entire lab with celebration. They never realized that their elated hastiness (or clumsiness) would be their falling. see for yourself, take a look at the shenanigans in action.
I recently had the opportunity to get into the Ms. Splosion Man beta and what you can expect to find is an all new adventure, new puzzles and ways to solve them, new game modes and of course the same Twisted Pixel humor.
Much like Splosion Man your goal is to ‘splode your way through a series of exciting escape based puzzles by utilizing the explosiveness of your entire self. There are nifty rails to help you zip through areas, rotating cannons to help shoot you through the air with all the style and grace you would expect from our *ahem* dainty heroine.
The multiplayer mode is one crazy adventure with completely different puzzles. With double the explosiveness, players must work together to solve problems and at times explode into one another to make larger jumps and get to otherwise unreachable heights. I jumped into multiplayer only to anger my co-players with my ineptness. In fairness I did have a bit of troubling finding people to team up with online which might explain why some of the people I met in multiplayer may have had less patience with my learning curve. The number of people playing online is not going be any kind of issue once the game is released. I’m not going to lie, I will enjoy multiplayer local as well. Even my non gamer friends will be able to pick up a controller (upon my insistence) and create all kinds of chaos by my side. Somehow I feel that the silliness of coordinating your adventure will be much more fun with someone you know rather than a random.
There is a mode that, while locked in the beta, looks really interesting called Two Girls, One Controller. This mode allows one player to control two Splosion Gals simultaneously on the same controller. You use the left analog stick with LB button for one, and the right analog stick with RB for the other. It takes a keen eye and a whole lot of dexterity to keep these two girls on target, but once you get the rhythm right you’re off and sploding. This mode sounds not only INSANE but also right up my alley. I cannot wait to give it a try.
The beta is only around until the 26th but if you didn’t get into the beta you won’t have to wait long. Ms Splosion Man will be released on July 13th as part of Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade. I’ve already got my points ready, how about you?
A glimpse of an upcoming deal flowed through my twitter feed today. Upon further research and confirmation from http://majornelson.com/ early reports appear to be true. This Friday a slew of XBLA titles will be available at 50% OFF.
Friday April 15th 2011 you can get the following titles at bargain prices:
- Limbo – 600 pts
- Castle Crashers – 600 pts
- Shadow Complex – 600 pts
- Trials HD – 600 pts
- Monday Night Combat – 600 pts
Now I’ve already purchased the first 3 titles, which I highly recommended, but with a deal like this I may not be able to pass up the purchase of a 4th or possible 5th addition to the collection.
If i had to recommended just one.. it would probably be Limbo, or Shadow Complex, you really can’t go wrong. I reviewed Limbo when it first came out for GirlGamer.com.. You can read that review HERE.
No matter what your genre is, these are quality titles at a fantastic price. So dust off your MS points and don’t miss out!