Release Date: March 1st 2018
Price as of Article: $9.99USD, £8.99 GBP
While iFun4all may have one of the more worrying names for a publisher, especially if you’re strictly against mobile ports, they’ve had varying success so far on the Nintendo Switch with the highlight being the enjoyable Serial Cleaner. Their fourth effort on the Switch is Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder Devastated a paper themed tower defence game.
The audio for the title is surprisingly decent, but then again, iFun4all seem to have a knack of having high quality audio even if the surrounding game may come across as a bit cheap. They always excel themselves in this department. There’s not a lot of tracks but of those that are here, are nice, catchy and always far more punchier than you would expect. Something that does take away from what could be a solid audio job are the sound effects which, as generally comes with tower defence territory, are repetitive and overbearing. To add insult to injury there are no real audio settings in the options, you can only turn all of the sound on or off rather than music and effects being separate.
Visually the game has a cutout paper theme to it which I can always appreciate, there’s something rather tangible to how things look in this style, with Paper Mario being the primary example of course. In Paper Wars it looks fine with the doodle soldiers looking like they’ve been crudely ripped out of a book or something. I think the only problem I have with it is that it doesn’t really have any need to be paper-based since it’s not integrated into the gameplay or anything. There’s no gimmick or meaning to it being there aside from it just looking okay. Obviously being such a small, simple title it doesn’t really matter as much compared to if it was a larger, big budget game.
Paper Wars is a very simple take on the tower defence genre, it’s literally at its most basic. A small variety of soldiers walk from the right of the screen to the left. Your job is to stop them. To do that you simply fire missiles at them by moving the aiming reticule over to where you want your bomb to land, then hold down the A button to charge up the amount of power you want, release it and then bombs away!
The enemies don’t fight back or anything, they literally live up to the subtitle of cannon fodder. Sometimes they’ll stick in groups, other times they’ll charge solo but at the end of the day that’s all they’ll do. Just charge.
The goal of each stage changes but it usually involves either killing a set amount of enemies, a set amount of specific enemies or just surviving a certain length of time. After the first score of stages when the difficulty starts to ramp up, you’ll notice that enemy soldiers will begin to get through but it’s not the end of the world since you’re always granted a small allowance of how many can go through before it’s game over.
As you blow enemies up with bomb after bomb after bomb, you’ll quickly begin to realise the complete mindlessness this game has to offer. It’s repetitive, bomb after bomb, as you’re blowing up the same kind of enemies. Saying that this game has any kind of depth would be a hilarious lie. It’s simple to a fault in my mind, although maybe there is an audience for this kind of simplicity. Sometimes after a hard day at work you don’t always want to play a game where you have to fully concentrate so it may be a decent choice for some people.
It’s not only missiles you have to help you. As you blast the paper soldiers to smithereens you’ll have have a smorgasbord of different power ups to assist you in your defence. Icons for different kinds of attack will pop up on the battlefield whether it be a mine to help blow stuff up, something to slow down time or even call in an airstrike, there are a lot of different assists in Paper Wars and you’ll definitely want to pick all of them up if possible because they really do help.
However, I must state that it’s the power ups that bring up my biggest gripe with the game. If you shoot a missile and destroy a power up, some of them will actually stall your next charge up to attack. Leaving you attack-less for a couple of seconds. It doesn’t sound like much but it can be so debilitating when the enemy comes at full speed. It’s not all of the power ups that do this but most of them do and I find it curiously odd. It’s not as though there’s much you can do about it either, as most of the time the power ups will appear after you’ve already fired your shot off making destruction inevitable. This happens all of the time too and is a major annoyance in my opinion.
There is a bit of variety between the 3 level packs put in into this game. The first is just a standard affair but the winter themed levels gives you a limit on your ammunition which is admittedly rather tense, then the zombie pack does add a slither of depth in the fact that different zombies are only vulnerable to specific bombs. For example, the red zombies will only be able to be killed by the red bombs.
Finally there’s a survival mode to take part in for each of the levels packs which you have to kill as many zombies as possible until 100 breach the left of the screen. It didn’t hold my attention to be honest as it was even more mindless than the standard game.
It should be noted that, while you can use the standard controller, you’re more than welcome to use your fingers if you want and in someways it’s better although kind of tiring if played over longer sessions.
At £8.99 you’ve got about 90 levels each with 3 difficulties plus a survival mode. Now, I wouldn’t say that price is outrageous or anything since lesser games have asked for more, but I do think it’s slightly ambitious for the publisher. Not because it’s a bad game but because of what kind of game it is. At the minute I don’t think it’s worth the original asking price but if there’s ever a sale for more than half price than I’d say that pretty reasonable.
Gameplay is too mindless for me