Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder Devastated is like a free flash game from five years ago. The premise is simple: you are a military commander in charge of a tank. You fire at waves of enemies to stop them getting to your base. You can pick up power-ups to bring in air-strikes, mines, etc. The problem arises when you quickly realise that all you’re doing is moving a hitbox around a group of enemies and releasing to fire. There’s no strategy involved with placing down traps or enough movement via a different viewpoint to make the gameplay particularly interesting.
The main source of strategy is using power-ups to gain an advantage. There’s some good ones like Mines, Airstrikes and Rage (which just allows you to keep firing). Then there’s some alright ones like Reverse and Speed Up Reload. None are particularly awful, but whenever Rage can be enabled, they all lose their needs quite quickly. Also, the mechanic whereby your gun gets disabled for a bit if you shoot a power-up is ridiculous. It just added frustration to the game, especially due to the random spawn times of the power-ups.
With 84 levels spread over 3 campaigns and with 3 difficulty levels each, it seems like a lot of content. However, each campaign can be completed (at least on Rookie difficulty) in around an hour. It’s also quite repetitive, with any attempt to change up the formula in the 3rd act (colour-coded zombies) being lost on a player who now just wants to complete the game. There is a cool change whereby the gun starts breaking right at the end, adding some timing, but even that is done half-heartedly, with unresponsive tapping.
One major problem is the lack of any real progression. Sure, your tank does upgrade itself after every few levels, but you have no control over what happens with the upgrade. Neither can you see any stats and I’m not entirely sure it actually changes anything. Being able to collect coins and upgrade your weapon to make it your own, upgrading power-ups etc. would go a long way to add some flavour to the game.
At least the art style is clever. Taking the appearance of doodles, enemies seem cut out of paper. This reduces the impact of the violence of blowing up 30 soldiers at once and also looks good. The entire game has a childlike, cartoony feel which works. However, it is sometimes at the detriment of the writing which is mildly cringe worthy. Also, there’s just general spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, something I thought would have been fixed, given this is originally a WiiWare title and Nintendo’s reputation for approving quality games.
Overall, Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder Devastated is a game which could have been so much more, if they’d be more focused on improving progression and the repetitive nature of the gameplay.
Disclaimer: A Nintendo Switch code of Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder was provided by iFun4all for the purpose of this review