The gameplay of the recently released Toy Tactics is unique but is that enough to cover up its downsides? Here’s our review of Toy Tactics, a look at its story and gameplay.
Toy Tactics is a real time strategy game pc, It entered Early Access on March 17, 2023. I’ll be covering most of the gameplay, as well as some of the story. There won’t be too many spoilers in this review, so feel free to read on.
Without further ado, let’s get down to our review of Toy Tactics, its gameplay, story, and more.
toy strategy review
toy strategy background
As mentioned above, Toy Tactics is a real-time strategy game. Players control a set number of units and must use them to complete various objectives. It ranges from capturing points to taking down all enemy units. It’s just like any other RTS game I’ve played before. However, it does have one gameplay feature that sets it apart from other RTS games I’ve played.
toy strategy gameplay
One of the main selling points of Toy Tactics, and the feature that got me interested in the first place, was the ability to manually draw your units’ formations. Using High Command’s brush, players can draw whatever formation they want their units to take. Do you want a basic line that can protect your base from incoming attacks? Perhaps you want a wedge to split the enemy formation in two for easier fighting. Or still, maybe you want to create a stick figure and have your units walk across the battlefield as if it were a giant walking man? As long as the player can pull it off, units under your control will make it through with their ranks.
Even better, it’s intuitive. If you want to split your units in half, all you have to do is draw two separate lines. It’s easier than drag-selecting half your units and moving them away like in your typical RTS. It’s even easier to join them into a larger unit, as the player only has to drag their formation drawings together. Overall, I find this gameplay mechanic interesting and intuitive. The problem, however, is that when the fights start, it doesn’t matter.
For context, let me bring up Total War: Warhammer III. In that game, you have a slightly more primitive version of Toy Tactics’ formation system. Players can spread their units or collapse them into a single line. The longer the formation, the shorter the queues, just like real-life battles. However, when battles begin, your units try to maintain their formation, just like in real life. Not so in Toy Tactics. Several times I’ve tried to create a wedge to try and split enemy units apart. However, what is happening is that the units at the end of the wedge move forward and attack nearby enemies. The pattern I had drawn for the formation of my units went to waste as the units themselves got tangled up with the enemy in a somewhat zigzag line.
This may sound like a very specific nitpick, but I believe it is really important to consider. For a game that emphasizes army formation on the spot to harness the player’s creativity, the unit AI doesn’t seem to get that much attention. After the first few instances of this happening I went back to using normal line formations instead, because that’s how battles end up anyway: a line of soldiers fighting a line of soldiers. What’s the point of making a detailed look when it only exists before and after the war?
The novelty of the drawing gameplay mechanic wore off fast, sadly. Once that was done, I had to look at the game’s other features to find motivation to continue playing. In the game’s defense, its other features are good. The variety of units available makes it fun to play. This partnered with the variety of blessings the player can equip to transform their army makes for an interesting combination. Players can fine-tune their armies and blessings to match the battlefield. Not only that, but I really liked the little puzzles available on the map. From simple button puzzles to splitting up your army to defend objectives, the game offers enough variety to keep it from getting boring fast.
There were also various spells and powers that the player could use to quickly turn the tide of battle. This calls for a large number of reinforcements ranging from catapult and meteor attacks. Players can also build walls to block enemy advance. Battles that I thought I would lose suddenly become battles to be won as my powers take hold. These powers could quickly change the course of a fight, so it made each fight fun.
Besides the gameplay, there’s also a story to keep my interest, even if a little.
toy strategy story
The story of Toy Tactics revolves around a Drugar invasion. Taking control of the Imperium, the Pendragon, and the Kyūkai army (representing Rome, England, and Japan, respectively), the player must fight back against drug gangs that threaten to take over the world. Players will find themselves fighting across Europe and Japan to fend off enemy hordes back to where they came from.
Toy Tactics, like most RTS games, doesn’t really have a very compelling story. That doesn’t mean that RTS games can’t have a good story. It’s just that sometimes the RTS gameplay doesn’t complement the story well. The story of Toy Tactics revolves around you, the player and the strategist, fighting against the big bad of the story of each campaign. The narrator’s quips and in-game dialogue keep the general monotony of RTS games from taking hold. However, it still wasn’t really enough. I know I probably shouldn’t expect an RTS game to have a great story, but I really can’t help it. A compelling narrative makes or breaks a game for me, and it doesn’t matter how pretty the game is (or well-stylized in the case of toy strategy), if the story doesn’t grab me I can quickly quit. May lose interest in sports.
That doesn’t mean the story doesn’t have its moments. The amount of blatant comedy, plus some fourth-wall-breaking quips, is enough to get a grin out of me. The voice acting in the game, although not great, was good enough that the delivery of the jokes became a hit. I guess in a way, that’s all that really matters.
Toy Tactics Review Summary
Toy Tactics is a fun game to play from time to time. Although players can accomplish this in one or two sittings, I don’t think it’s something you should be doing. Space your playing times so you don’t get bored and really don’t expect too much from it. Try not to think too much about the drawing mechanic, and instead treat it like you would normal drag-select mechanics. You should play for a while after the novelty of drawing wears off.
I believe this game would have done better as a mobile game. It has all the makings of one: a drawing-based gameplay that fits on a tablet or phone screen, simple enough graphics, a story full of comedy, and much more.
Editor’s Note: ClutchPoints received a PC review copy of Toy Tactics so that we could cover the game. This copy does not influence the decision of this Toy Tactics review in any way.