War. War never changes. But Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder Devastated? No, those don’t change either. We first stumbled upon iFun4all tower defence game back in 2011 where a very wise man stated the Wiiware offering was “(...) far from the worst game ever”. Seven years later, does this new entry bring anything new to the paper battlegrounds or is it just the same old piece of sheet? Beware of paper-cuts…
It is strange the game’s genre still insists in being labelled ‘tower defence’, since it rarely is these days. In fact, it has more in common with the classic Atari’s Missile Command than any tower defence game we can think up. Instead of nukes flying in from the top in, here you have endless hordes of paper units that creep their way from the right side of the screen and you, a paper tank, starts shelling these poor paper souls back to the recycle bin.
This is not however a 1:1 remake of the original game, hence the new subtitle. The original charming paper graphics have been all remade so at least the new soldiers do look better than in the original while still retaining their pleasing children drawing aesthetics. Gameplay does, however, remain true to the original: you aim the targeting reticule on the battlefield, press the fire button and decide how much bang you want on your paper shell by how long you keep that same button held. Bonus items often show up in the battlefield so you do have to take some care not to blow them up. This became a nuisance fast when things got more hectic.
The game offers several missions in three difficulties. Do yourself a favour and skip both the ‘rookie’ and ‘soldad’ settings, only young children will find a challenge there. There are only two types of mission: prevent a set number of enemy paper soldiers reaching your base (i.e. the left side of the screen) or hold the onslaught for a set period of time. As expected the game starts throwing different types of paper soldiers (and eventually vehicles this time) at you, with different walking speeds and boom resistance, but they always walk in a straight left-to-right line making them truly the titular cannon fodder. Still, there is a mysterious, somewhat zen quality to it all as you try to maximise you paper ordinance to take out the biggest possible number of them.
Quality, however, is not what you will find on the user interface. Yes, we understand the whole misprint and reverse letter shtick, but more often then not we had trouble distinguishing which options were highlighted, leading to some frustrating, accidental menu problems. The main issue then becomes if you will be able to unlock the two extra campaigns (the return of ‘Winter Assault’ and the all new ‘Zombie Wars’ featuring… yep, you guessed it: paper zombies!) before the novelty wears off. Criminally, one of the redeeming features from the original as gone MIA.: Survival mode returns, but the chaotic four-player option is nowhere in sight. A sadly missed 'papertunity' right there. At least the music is certainly… loud.
Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder Devastated is not a good game. It is not a bad game. It is a game. A harmless time-waster that will neither bring a revolution nor it will end the world by its quiet presence on the Switch eShop. It is, however, hard for us to recommend it at the current price point considering there are far more viable options content and gameplay wise for the same price. What we have here is yet another incredible kusoge whose existence made us remember not to take life too seriously. Plus the title did remind us to replay the Sensible Software developed classic Cannon Fodder. In conclusion: ‘Paper Wars: Paper-thin Fodder’.