The 8 Ball: Top 8 Toy-Sized Games
Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. This week I’m here to talk about small-scale games, specifically toy-sized games. By this I mean games where it is generally the perspective of from a toy, so the world is huge around you, and you are usually, but not always, in mundane environments. Two of the games on this list are a tad fantastical but they do still fit the motif so they make sense. A notable omission from this list is any of the old Army Men series of games. I never played any of them and the general consensus from what I’ve read is that most of them weren’t really good. With that said, let’s begin:
#8: Toy Story 3: The Video Games
Toy Story 3 was actually a pretty big precursor to Disney Infinity. It had a version of the Toy Box mode, sans actual figures, and you could select different Toy Story characters who had their own moves and skills. Actually, the Toy Box in this game was probably easier to use, since in Infinity it could just get overwhelming. Aside from that, Toy Story 3 was just a solid little 3D platformer that was fun for people of all ages.
Re-Volt was probably one of the best games Acclaim ever made, which is either impressive or sad when you think about it. Re-Volt was kind of a Mario Kart clone, only instead of go-karts, it used remote control cars and the perspective they would generally have. You had missiles, turbo boosters, bombs, etc., to combat the other racers. The difference with Re-Volt, compared to other kart-style racing games, was the handling of the cars. They were very squirrely to drive, because they didn’t have a ton of weight to them, so you really had to know what you were doing if you wanted to progress through the championships.
#6: Super Smash Bros.
You wouldn’t think Smash Bros would be on this list, but you’d be wrong. While there is a story that was added to Smash Bros Brawl, the original games’ plot was I think a kid playing with his or her Nintendo toys and having them fight. He or she is using their imagination to have the characters come alive from the figurines and fight each other with the final boss being the “Master Hand” that is really the kid dictating everything. Aside from that, the Smash Bros franchise is a favorite among a lot of people of a specific age group, and while the original is clunky and slow compared to the later games, I still find it oddly charming and more enjoyable.
#5: Action Henk
The entire game is taken from an action figure’s perspective as you run, slide, and grapple your way around Hot Wheels tracks. You play the titular Action Henk who is now past his prime, but you have something to prove still, so you run around a bunch of zany tracks to get the best time possible. There’s a lot of really inventive perspective camera work going on as you run, as the game takes on more of a 2.5D vibe, despite it all being in 2D.
#4: Mister Mosquito
This was an old favorite game of mine just due to its unique hook. You play a robotic mosquito who is torturing a Japanese family by sucking their blood and inflicting psychological horrors on them. The game can get a tad pervy, especially the bathtub level with the 17 year old in the tub, but it’s still a great perspective for a game and a gameplay system I don’t think any game has used since.
#3: Unreal Tournament
Unreal Tournament didn’t release with toy-themed maps, they were introduced later on by modders. The normal maps of UT are good to great, but the maps made by enterprising designers were a lot of fun. Particularly the kitchen, bedroom, living room and even bathroom style maps that were huge and made you feel incredibly small as you tried to get around them and kill enemies. These wacky and zany maps were arguably some of my favorites in classic UT and it’s shame FPS games of this era don’t approach this sense of personality at all.
#2: Toy Soldiers: Cold War
I’ve never been a fan of the traditional tower defense game, as you never really have any control over what your turrets are doing. In the Toy Soldiers games though, you can control them, and Cold War was the best of the series. It had the usual trappings of the genre, placing turrets at choke points to drive back the enemy, but the toy box feel was strong throughout the game with enemy tanks, or having to refill your helicopter fuel with 9 volt batteries. The best was the Rambo-inspired commando unit, who would shout nonsense as you slaughtered other troops.
#1: Toy Commander
I’ve been thinking a lot about this game recently and man, it’s still great. You would use various vehicles to try and accomplish goals, like picking up sugar cubes or saving people from the enemy. In most levels you had a variety of vehicles to choose from, and most of them played pretty differently from one another. The controls were a tad weird, mainly because of the Dreamcast controller, but it did play well, and you could accomplish a lot once you actually knew what you were doing. I’d love it if this game somehow came back but I seriously doubt it.
For comments, list which small-scale games you enjoy playing.
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