One of the surest ways to kill a franchise is to make a crappy sequel. Just ask The Matrix, The Godfather, Star Wars for the last ten years, the Batman games on the PC, and maybe To Kill a Mockingbird. I won’t know that last one until everyone else at my stupid library is done reading it and my turn comes up.
You can also ask Toy Soldiers, the ebullient tribute to shooting things that are running at you. We have a word for this. Tower defense. Unfortunately, it’s become a dirty word. Tower defense has become synonymous with throwaway indie games and free-to-play boondoggles squatting on wide swathes of wasteland in Steam and the Apple Store. But before it was a dirty word, Toy Soldiers was a best case example of tower defense because it was more than mere tower defense. It was lively action with a dollop of strategy. It was cute graphics nestled in dioramas adorned with miniature toys. It was brimming with personality, including the World War I flavor of the original game and the 80s Cold War action movie cheese of the later follow-ups. It was lots of replayability and wonderful splitscreen local multiplayer. It was varied weapons and crazy power-ups and daunting boss fights.
And now Toy Soldiers has a license to kill. Ubisoft has secured the Hasbro license, so Toy Stories: War Chest is a delirious mash-up of He-Man, GI Joe, Star Bright (is that even a real thing?), and Assassin’s Creed. The Kaiser is still around, too. And there’s a random fantasy dude with dragons and dice. What could possibly go wrong?
After the jump, what could possibly wrong. Continue reading →