Review- Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder
When a game is consistently referred to by its own developers as the “worst game ever,” it can be easy to approach it with lowered expectations. Right away, however, I was able to tell that Paper Wars was by and large not the worst game I had ever played. The minis title makes every attempt at appearing cheap, with a paper cut-out graphical style and sound effects recorded by a 90’s TalkBoy. These trappings, however, only serve to distinguish it against games that take itself far too seriously. The developers at iFun4All have obviously had a lot of fun poking fun at their creation, and it helps that they’ve actually made an enjoyable game to boot.
Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder straddles the line between an action shooter and a strategy/tower defense game. Players direct their tank to bombard the battlefield with explosive shells to eliminate the enemy troops as they march from right to left. The strategy element comes into play with the need to charge shots to maximize their power; because you can’t simply rapid-fire through your opponents, players need to time their shots and position them for maximum destruction. A plethora of powerups potentially pop up and can be activated on the battlefield, but they can also be destroyed by any stray explosion. The mix of frantic planning and thoughtful carnage kept me glued to Paper Wars when a more traditional game would have lost my interest.
With three campaigns (each with 28 unique missions and an endless survivor mode) and a bag of in-game achievements to earn, there’s no shortage of content in this $5 package. I was especially impressed with the Cyber Warz campaign, which uses a TRON-esque makeover to introduce a new colour-matching mechanic. Honestly, the game really tries to be as varied as possible with its core concept. The campaign missions play around with the basic rules, modify how powerups work, or make you overcome hindering conditions in an effort to keep the gameplay fresh. It doesn’t work all that well; in the end, each level plays almost exactly the same as the last. I like that they did their best to add variety, but there are certainly limits to how many different ways they could present the same game.
The music is fairly generic, and pretty low quality, which actually fits the theme of the “worst game ever.” Unfortunately it can also get grating after an extended period of time. The same goes for the sound effects, which are charming the first time one hears the lo-fi groans of dying soldiers but irritating after the thousandth utterance. Against a more expensive and less fun game, I would have docked more from the game’s score. Thankfully, Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder is worth enduring the mild annoyance of the tunes and sounds that accompany the “worst game ever.” For $5, it’s a solid and entertaining minis title.
For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Portable version of the game.
What I Like:
- Frantic planning / thoughtful carnage.
- Controls well on PSP/PS3.
- Does its best to stay varied.
- Interesting sense of style.
What I Dislike:
- Limited sounds & music grates on one after a while.
- Isn't as varied as it tries to be.