Friday, March 2

Review: Paper Wars - Cannon Fodder Devastated [Nintendo Switch eShop]

While people usually think of more complex or high-concept titles when they think of gaming, being honest there’s quite a lot of room for things that are a bit more simplistic. That isn’t to say they can’t be hard but there’s a certain solace in turning off your brain and blowing some stuff up. That’s the spirit that Paper Wars is looking to tap, and if you buy into its basic mechanics it offers quite a lot of content, even if it is somewhat redundant.

The name of the game is blowing up enemies that are coming from the right before they get all the way over to the left. All that stands in their way is you, manning your “tank” (it looks like one but doesn’t move), and lobbing shells at them to blow them up. You’ll move your reticle around, hold down the button (or your finger on the screen) to charge up a meter, wait till it gets to green, and then unleash varied forms of hell depending on how far into green the gauge went. Though it isn’t a big difference in time the small explosion of a barely charged shell is dwarfed by the mushroom cloud of a full gauge.

While there are various layers and trappings that sit on top of it to further complicate matters that’s what sits at the game’s core. Playing it in handheld mode with the touchscreen is preferred as the joystick controls work but are more cumbersome. You’ll need speed to be on your side since as you progress power-ups will begin to show up on the field. These are quite powerful and can help slow down the enemy, destroy them, nullify the count of soldiers who’ve gotten through your defenses, call in an airstrike, allow you to go into a temporary free-fire mode of insanity, and more. The problem is that if any of them are within the blast radius of one of your shots (or more unfortunately within the radius of another power-up) you’ll temporarily lose the ability to fire your weapon. This means you really need to be on top of what’s happening, keep an eye (and ear) out for them popping up, and try to at least set them off before your shells hit. While they can be aggravating the feeling of crawling out from the jaws of defeat with the help of a few key power-ups is great.

In terms of the downsides everything really hinges on whether or not you think you’ll enjoy the basic gist of what the game has to offer. There are multiple modes (including ZOMBIES) and 3 skill levels worth of stages, plus a survival variant in each mode as well. There’s no question that if you enjoy the core gameplay that you’ll have plenty of content to kick around with for a while. While it makes for a great “play on the couch while watching TV” game it doesn’t aspire to be anything more. It’s fun, just as long as you keep in mind its limits.

Score: 7

  • 3 modes with varied themes and specials
  • Loads of content and options
  • Plays great in touchscreen mode

  • Power-ups are both great and can be aggravating
  • In terms of gameplay if you don’t buy into the central hook there’s nothing here for you

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