Toon War is a game that I had no prior knowledge of prior to release: a simple, easy to pick up twin-stick shooter in which the player is put behind the wheels of a cartoony assault vehicle and tasked with mercilessly killing “terrorist” forces.
I put the word terrorist in quotation marks because the game doesn’t pull it’s punches when it comes to the stereotypical portrayal of people of Middle-Eastern origin, with the characters being cartoony caricatures of the typical “generic terrorist man” you’d see in an episode of South Park or in a bad movie from the early 2000s.
Ironically, the gameplay is probably the least interesting part of the experience when it comes to Toon War, as I found myself far more perplexed over the question “who is this game for?”. It’s a case of moving the Tank with one stick and shooting with the other. Enemies will drop power-ups that can be used to kill more enemies for a short time, and the player’s score is tracked in the top left corner.
In comparison to twin-stick juggernauts such as Super Stardust, Toon War feels like a mobile game. There are significant difficulty spikes, as I found myself struggling against the third boss in a seemingly no-win situation with little to no guidance as to how to progress. Whilst this meant I’m not able to attest to the unlockables or progression systems past a certain point, it felt like a small mercy.
Toon Wars is a difficult game to recommend. In fact, it’s use of disappointing cultural stereotypes feels disappointing in 2018, while it’s gameplay is just as dismal.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*