Game: Worms W.M.D
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, OS X
Rating: Everyone over 10
When I think of video games, I think of my childhood, venturing on madcap adventures into strange worlds with a colorful cast of characters. The likes of Mario, Sonic, and Lara Croft spring to mind, filling me with fond nostalgia. These names took me on great solo escapades, yet my aforementioned adventures were not all had alone. I fought memorable battles in one of the best multiplayer games in history: Worms. Developer Team 17 intends to continue the fun of yore and create new memories, both for adults and children in their release of Worms W.M.D
A Worm’s Life
For those unfamiliar, Worms is a 2D turned-base strategy game in which each player controls a team of worms. These are not the wiggly, ground dwelling annelids you may be picturing. No, these are caricatures. They appear bright pink—cartoonish—and carry a whole heap of weapons. Each turn provides the player with a few seconds to move and cause as much damage to their opponents as possible. A whimsical charm, destructible environments, and a host of explosive weapons has ensured Worms’ place in gaming history. However, with that being stated, what’s new in this ageing franchise? Well, the Worms W.M.D single player experience is pretty much the standard affair. Beginning with the tutorial, one can come to grips with what could potentially be a steep learning curve for new players. This training mode can quickly become a challenge all of its own. The ability to gain medals could incite many people retry a level many times since the more obsessive player will hunger for the gold. The rest of the solo mode is just a good way to sharpen your skills for the real meat of the undertaking—the multiplayer.
Worming Your Way Around
As any fan can attest, the gameplay is a truly unique experience, unlike any other game out there. You have a number of seconds to slowly crawl over the map and attack your opponent with a baseball bat, hurling them into the sea. Maybe throw a grenade, or one better, a sheep that explodes upon reaching your foe. This is the madness found in Worms. New features include fresh weapons, like the comical sheep on a rope, an updated control scheme, which modernizes the old arrangement. There is also a fantastic ability to craft weapons, and the inclusion of vehicles. For the first time your worms can enter tanks, mechs (robotic suits), and helicopters, or mounted guns. This increases the strategy, seeing as you can be thrown from your mobile weapon when it’s not your turn. You have to pick your moments just right in order to achieve victory, especially when playing with a friend, or online. This is where Worms has always shone brightest, and W.M.D is no exception. The zany fun is as thrilling as ever when playing this mental chess game with a real person, familiar or otherwise. The action is more manic too, thanks mostly to an increased team capacity. Now one can have eight worms on each team, doubling the previous limit of four. You can also try tricking opponents by commanding your little troops to hide in buildings, another new feature.
Returning To The Roots
The franchise has gone back to its roots in terms of graphics. The worms themselves are 2D again. Similarly, the battlegrounds look stunning, perhaps the best the series has seen thus far, and, as fans have come to expect, they are fully destructible. A grenade or rocket will leave its mark in the ground, sometimes creating massive craters that lead to watery graves. The capability to create and customize your own team of worms is also back. Players can name a team and each individual worm before furnishing them with headwear, taunts, and even wacky voices.
W.M.D is an excellent return to the franchise and is a great family friendly game, one which returning fans will surely enjoy. However, the 30-dollar price tag may be too steep when compared to earlier installments. In addition, this iteration won’t change the minds of cynics. Despite the price tag, Worms is back and better then ever. I can easily envisage it capturing many more young followers, just like it captured me as a child.