Developer: Kukouri Mobile Entertainment
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
As misty-eyed lovers of Sensible Software to a man, we've been craving an up-to-date revamp of the seminal Cannon Fodder experience for years. An experience that, sadly, the officially-licensed Cannon Fodder 3 was unable to deliver. Bereft of a fun-yet-hardcore romp featuring small squads of expendable (if loveable) troopers, we were forced to look elsewhere to get our fix.
So imagine our delight upon discovering that an unassuming iOS app from Kukouri Entertainment managed to deliver the goods. Tiny Troopers is an unabashed homage to classic Cannon Fodder gameplay, bringing things into the 21st century with a nifty approach to persistent currency for a bargain price.
Now that Tiny Troopers has graduated from iOS to PC, it's high time that Dealspwn got involved. To quote an old saying: war has never been so much fun.
Tiny Troopers will be instantly familiar if you know who Jools, Jops and Stoo are. Controlling a small squad of soldiers as a single unit, you'll order around your gaggle of jarheads with simple left clicks and direct their combined firepower with the right mouse button. Enemies, from single troopers to sniper towers, vehicles and fortifications, will shred your fragile forces quickly if you don't plan your tactics accordingly, providing a stern challenge that can be overcome with some deft fingers and appropriate use of some limited secondary weapons including grenades and bazookas. Thirty varied levels mix things up with defensive missions and seek & destroy objectives, all of which are satisfyingly meaty but brief enough to avoid outstaying their welcome. It's accessible and punchy, slick and eminently replayable, and above all good honest fun.
And joy unbounded: the pathfinding works.
A cutesy graphical style and adorable sound effects help Tiny Troopers to find its own personality compared to Sensible Software's franchise, and allows us to get further attached to our cuddly wuddly killers. You'll soon come to love your squadmates since they level up between missions... but permanent death forces you to replace your experienced with a new set of green rookies should your skills prove to be less than masterful. Losing an old friend is shocking, but powering up new troopers is addictive in and of itself.
A strong economy system firmly sets Tiny Troopers apart from Cannon Fodder, and provides one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. Completing missions, finding intel and defusing weapons of mass destruction rewards you with persistent currency to spend on specialists (powerful one-time additions to your forces like Delta Force operatives or airborne infantry) or temporary buffs before each new engagement. More excitingly, though, you can spend Command Points on mid-mission supplies, such as air strikes, grenades or even reinforcements, meaning that you won't have to laboriously trawl through through the levels when you run out of ammunition or need to turn the tide. Should you run low on Command Points, acquiring more is a simple matter of replaying earlier missions, which doesn't put your campaign forces at risk but helps to increase your overall war chest. Don't worry, there's not a micro-transaction in sight.
Tiny Troopers has been brushed up for its PC debut. A strong sense of colour and personality camouflages some slightly middling graphics, but the borderline cel-shaded visuals add an ageless and attractive quality to the proceedings. Capable lighting and particle effects certainly impress, and it runs well in a number of resolutions (it's also unimpeachably Alt-Tab stable).
There's only one problem with Tiny Troopers. A tiny little problem to be sure, but one that will doubtlessly inform your decision about which platform to buy on. The PC port costs £7.99, whereas the original iOS version is available for less than a quid... and actually contains extra content such as a Zombie survival mode. I'm not for a moment suggesting that apps are inherently worth less than PC games, far from it, but the difference between the two price points is absolutely staggering. If you own an iPhone - or better yet, an iPad - you'll be much better off parting with less money for more game.
Thankfully, the improved graphics and notably more convenient mouse controls still help Tiny Troopers to excel on the PC platform.
- Compelling gameplay balance between accessible and hardcore
- Addictive and versatile Command Points system
- Adorable, properly good fun
- Potentially a little grindy if you spend all your Command Points
- £7.99 on PC vs £0.69 on the App Store
- Makes Cannon Fodder 3 look a bit pointless
The Short Version: Tiny Troopers delivers a delicious bite sized portion of Cannon Fodder-style shenanigans featuring a compelling economy system and heartbreaking permanent deaths. Though I'd probably recommend getting it on iOS due to the markedly disparate price points, it's still addictive, accessible, attractive and rollickingly good for a laugh.
War has never been so much fun. Well, not since Cannon Fodder anyway.