In the darkest corner of the E3 Expo and promoted with stickers on toilets, a couple of booth babes and a giant balloon, iFun4all was promoting their latest iPhone, iPad, PSP mini game, Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder. Paper Wars is now headed to the Wii, via Wii Ware, later this year. While it’s difficult to determine what is brilliant anti-marketing and what is the truth about the development of this game, the Wii version, which was playable, is certainly not the worst game ever (as iFun4all claimed) and is actually quite a bit of fun.
The website states the budget for the game was a mere 500 Russian Rubles or at the time of this article, about $18. While the E3 booth rental alone totally annihilated that alleged budget, iFun4all says they have acquired remote “cost effective” workers from around the world to make the game. The cheapest project manager and lead programmer to be found was Laszlo Kovacs, based in Hungary. The art work is done by a young freelance artist from China, who lives in a remote village and hand painted each of the characters and animations.
Apparently to help offset the costs, the composer Boris Czernienko was selected for the soundtrack. In what could easily be seen as exploitation, Boris supposedly paid to have his music included in the game. Boris’ compositions are reminiscent of various eastern European anthems and fit the game perfectly. IFun4all claims this is due to his being deaf for the last 20 years and the last piece of music he heard was the Soviet national anthem. While all of these questionable confessions are unlikely to endear us to the publisher, the result is more than moderately successful.
This odd collection of remote efforts results in a game that is a frenetic Tower Defense meets Angry Birds mash-up. The player controls a tank turret trying to stop an onslaught of foot soldiers who inevitably bring to mind Stalin’s quote of quantity having a quality all its own. As in Angry Birds, you control the direction and velocity of the rounds fired into the waves of your enemies. The velocity adjustment is made by holding the trigger down as the meter charges over selected target. Luckily, there are various weapon upgrades to be found on the battlefield, one of which is an air raid.
As you can imagine, this onslaught can get out of hand very quickly. It takes some practice to adjust in the delay of charging the velocity meter and the round actually hitting its target. After a couple of practice rounds, some strategy can be executed and you can end up having a lot of fun mowing down the evil Communist empire. The levels can place various obstacles on the battlefield to manipulate the path of your enemies, though the playable Wii version offered a nearly open field for the masses to overrun you. The previous versions of this game have been well received and from what was playable at E3, the Wii port will be a success as well.