Cannon Cadets in Review: Are Cannons The New Slingshots?

The developers of Cannon Cadets probably knew from the day of release that their game would be compared to Angry Birds, and there’s no question that if you’ve played the fowl puzzler, you’ll feel right at home here.  The nice thing is that despite their similarities, Cannon Cadets offers enough to stand on its own.  And, with the recently added level editor, there should be enough spare levels to last you for a long time to come.  If you already own Angry Birds, there’s room enough in your collection for both.  If not, Cannon Cadets is just as good a place to start.

In Cannon Cadets a bad, nasty monkey has decided to suck all the fun out of the galaxy, and it’s up to the Cannon Cadets to save the day.  You must guide the cadets through many harrowing levels comprised of finely tuned concoctions of boards, metal bars, bombs, and various other assorted obstacles.  Ultimately you must free every captured cadet and destroy every wicked robot on each level, but demolishing all the extras is an added bonus (though often necessary to get to your goal).

If you’ve played Angry Birds or any one of the multitude of Flash based “shoot for distance” games then controlling Cannon Cadets will be second nature.  You tap on the cannon and then drag left and right to set the power for the shot and up and down to adjust the angle.  Then you let go, and the game handles the rest.  For the most part it works fine, but there are certain angles at which you just can’t seem to get full power, and I like full power.  There are also some times where the camera doesn’t adjust well enough to accommodate pulling the cannon straight back as far as you want to.

The game comes stocked with 80 “regular” levels sporting multi-level rankings.  You can also unlock four bonus worlds, but they don’t tell you how many levels are in each one of those.  If that isn’t enough (and trust me, the bonus levels are much tougher than the regular ones), you can design your own levels with the built in level editor and download a host of user made levels.  I’ve just played a couple of the home brewed ones so far, and let me tell you that some of these cadets have quite an imagination.  Note that you must create a user name and password to access custom levels.

The visuals are certainly cute, as one might expect given the whole premise behind the game.  However, it seems like everything was designed with the intent of viewing it zoomed out, because most of the items look a bit blocky when zoomed in.  The backgrounds are nice, and I really like the cut scene visuals.  I wish there were actually more of those, and that they might have fleshed out the story a bit more with them.

The sound effects compliment the kiddie atmosphere quite well.  Between the “up, up and aways” and the giggles of the cadets it’s just a nice, cheery atmosphere.  Still, explosions sound like explosions and so on, so don’t expect someone to holler “boom” when a bomb goes off.  The music is decent, if not pretty typical for a space themed game.  It’s easy to listen to, and it’s not like you’re going to be spending gobs of time on any given level anyway (at least not for a particular run through).

I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve played of Cannon Cadets so far.  For those who seek the inevitable Angry Birds comparisons, I think the birds is a bit more polished atmosphere, but I find the levels the cadets have to face much more approachable.  And, with all the custom levels, I don’t need to feel like slightly easier levels means I’ll get any less bang for my buck.  I’ll just go download more when I’ve completed the standard ones.  I still contend that they are both worthy to add to your collection, but either way Cannon Cadets is quite a charming game.

App Summary
Title: Cannon Cadets Developer: XMG Studio Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 2.2 Min OS Req: 3.1
Price: $0.99 App Size: 116.52MB
  • Simple mechanics
  • Challenging game play
  • Fun characters
  • Lots of levels
  • Controls a bit touchy
  • Sign-on required for downloading bonus levels


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