Tower Defense will be a sub-genre of video games that will never get old. Ever since the olden days of Warcraft III and Rampart days people have flocked to this specific style of strategic challenges. Toy Defense 2, by Melesta, takes the challenge and makes it fun and reminiscent of childhood imaginations everywhere like the kind seen in the Toy Story saga. This time Toy Defense 2 imitates battles of World War 2 history such as Stalingrad, Operation Crusader and Operation Overlord into bite sized cute but oddly detailed battles using toy soldiers.
World War 2 In A Nutshell
As to be expected Toy Defense 2 takes on the role of portraying these vital World War 2 battles into cutesy bite sized app chunks but for what it is worth Toy Defense 2 does do a good job at keeping the tower defense sub-genre fresh without getting overly complicated. Unit types are kept to a succinct four types: soldiers, planes (interceptors), artillery and ack-acks. Each of these can be upgraded outside of battle into a very nice split upgrade tree and then can be upgraded in game. The actual upgrades are very detailed and offer some unique advantages such as deploying Czech Hedgehogs and various militant technology which increases damage, accuracy, etc. While it seems that keeping tower types at a simple number I do feel Toy Defense 2 lacks some variety even with the nice upgrade system. For instance you have two types which only can attack air units and one that can only attack land (soldiers can attack both). This can really be a hassle in money management especially when the prices seem disproportionate and you are faced with an air attack the second wave. I sort of wish that through the upgrade system those base units would be transformed into better quality units or even a branch off upgrade system akin to Kingdom Rush. For instance once you unlock say flamethrowers and rocket launchers in the upgrade tree, then in game you can upgrade your soldier unit to either a flamethrower or a rocket launcher. This simple change would really make for more robust gameplay and honestly much more strategic planning.
Toy Defense 2 has some other interesting ideas that I haven’t really seen before. One idea that I have seen before but not recently is the idea of towers having health bars and therefore can be destroyed mid-battle. This makes micro-managing your towers super important and really discourages the idea of just holding down the fast forward button. The other idea I found really intriguing is after a battle you have inventory slots which you can save units you had in that game called a hero system (I suppose insinuating those are the war heroes of the battle). You can then place these saved units in the next battle for a discounted price. I really like this idea but the ranks/upgrades do not transfer with the unit (though it does seem they upgrade faster), so it unfortunately just boils down to having a few cheap units to place right away.
Grandpa’s War Stories
One of the nicer ideas in Toy Defense 2 I found, that I mentioned earlier for a bit, is the idea of different campaigns imitating real World War 2 battle locations from Stalingrad in the Soviet Union to Operation Crusader in Egypt. It is worth mentioning that there are three separate campaigns and you do not need to beat one fully to play the others. You can do any one in any order which is great as you may get stuck on one so you just load up another. Furthermore upgrade paths are different in each which again gives Toy Defense 2 that level of detail I love. Also in terms of detail each campaign of course has different graphical style, such as snowy areas in the Stalingrad levels.
World War 1 = World War 2?
Any time I review a sequel game or any game later on in a sequence I like to, if I can, play the earlier version to kind of compare what has changed and to see the general direction the developers are taking with their franchise. Unfortunately I feel that in Toy Defense 2’s case the answer to this is…staying the same. By this I mean pretty much every idea I praised or at least commented on for Toy Defense 2 was in the original Toy Defense. The minimal unit number and their types (for the most part) were in the original as was the idea of the hero system, the repair system, and the detailed split upgrade tree. Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I like these features a lot and think it does separate the Toy Defense series from other tower defense games but I just feel more change would have happened for Toy Defense 2 rather than a slight graphical overhaul and new level designs aimed at raking in more millions.
There was one pretty big difference between the original and Toy Defense 2 and that is the issue of graphics. Since the title is toy defense you kind of would expect theme wise and graphically the game to have toy characteristics. Well these characteristics can easily be seen in the original where tanks and jeeps had wind up cranks showing and the general maps looked like plastic dioramas. Toy Defense 2, on the other hand, featured more realistic graphics, which I liked and think was done very professionally but lost the toy meaning. The maps faintly resemble the old style dioramas but the units bear no resemblance.
A War Worth Playing
I suppose the big question is whether or not Toy Defense 2 is actually worth the buy and playing. Well, price wise it is only 1.99$ which I don’t find too bad especially when you consider you are getting three separate campaigns, each well detailed in themselves. Some people may not think the amount of levels per campaign is worth it (about 10 or so) but I think the quantity and interesting quality matches the price value. If you’re a fan of the tower defense sub-genre then I would definitely suggest Toy Defense 2 to add to your toy chest of games.