Little Green Men
I have to admit feeling a little bit of nostalgia when playing Toy Armey Men Defense and I suspect this was intentional. Many of us grew up commanding tiny armies on the living room carpet. Developed by, Warmice, Toy Army Men Defense: Merge Turrets is a hybrid tower defense, color matching, real-time strategy game.
Now, that might sound like the game is spreading itself pretty thin. Fortunately, the developers wisely focused on crafting a tower defense game first. In the primary tower defense mode, called Special Ops, players advance through a world map modeled after a typical suburban house. Toy Army Men Defense is inconsistent about what decade it takes place in, but that’s beside the point. Each stage has the player lay down turrets along a predetermined route. The layout of each stage varies depending on its location on the campaign map. Using the layout to your advantage is a crucial part of success in Toy Army Men Defense.
Now, here’s where the colors come in. Each turret begins at level 1, though the player can increase their starting level by upgrading their Base. However, the primary way to level them up is by merging two turrets of the same level. Players can do this on the battlefield directly or in the board across the bottom of the screen. Players add a random new turret to the board by spending points gained by killing enemies. There’s also a slight chance of drawing a wild piece that upgrades whatever turret it’s merged with.
There are four kinds of turrets: green Machineguns, orange Flamethrowers, purple Missile Launchers, and blue Frost Cannons. Frost turrets deal minimal damage but slow down enemy movement. Machineguns are a good all-rounder, with medium-range and damage and a high rate of fire. Missile launchers offer long-range and higher damage per hit but a low rate of fire. Finally, Flamethrowers fire continuously and deal significant damage but have extremely short range. Flame turrets work best when placed on corners, where the player can get the most of their substantial damage-per-second.
It’s solid tower defense gameplay, and Toy Army Men Defense milks it for everything it’s worth. In addition to the Special Ops mode, there’s also Elite Duel, Black Ops and All-Out Attack. Black Ops is just Special Ops at night, and kills don’t grant Points. The other two are different variations of optional boss fights.
Life in Plastic
Where the game starts to fall apart is what it calls Open Field Battles. It’s the same real-time map interface that every generic Android “RTS” uses and is always the worst part of every game it’s in. Even decent Android strategy games like Warhammer 40,000: Lost Crusade can’t seem to get away from the dull, click-and-wait “gameplay.” Fortunately, Toy Army Men Defense doesn’t force you to interact much with the map if you don’t want to. I was able to safely ignore the Open Field Battles 90 percent of the time.
The last main element of Toy Army Men Defense is Base Management. Again, it’s the same interface as every generic Android strategy game. There are six buildings, the HQ, Firepower Center, Technology Center, Armory and Fortification Ground. The last three relate to the Open Field battles, training troops, healing troops, and defending the Base respectively. Players use the Firepower Center to upgrade their turrets and the Technology Center to upgrade everything. While the base building is OK at first, it becomes a bottleneck to the rest of the game. New tower defense stages eventually get locked behind multiple 6+ hour upgrade timers.
I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t also mention the frequent crashes. Toy Army Men Defense is not the least stable game I’ve ever played, but it’s up there. Every time I launched the game, it’s a dice roll if it would crash or not. Switching between different stages and screens was also somewhat risky. Toy Army Men Defense never reached the point of total unplayability, but it came close and got worse over time.
Overall, I enjoyed Toy Army Men Defense: Merge Turrets. It’s a charming and enjoyable little tower defense game, shackled to a generic but nearly painless base-management system. While not a perfect experience, it’s definitely worth giving a try.
Is It Hardcore?
Toy Army Men Defense: Merge Turrets is a charming little tower defense game weighed down by stability issues and a generic pseudo-RTS component.