Worms is that ideal strategy game that’s perfect for those that aren’t used to strategy games. It essentially pits teams of wily worms against one another in all-out “kill the other team” glory, but features a mixture of innovative weaponry and comical antics to make the strategic tactics go down a bit smoother. I’ve seen people that shrug the game off at first, only to turn around, try it, and demand to hunt down online players to take on.
Now, over the years, the series has wandered a bit into new directions, including 3D games that didn’t quite fit in the lexicon, a Crazy Golf spin-off that’s surprisingly fun, and newer titles that tried to bend the gameplay a little bit, but with lacking results. Fortunately, Worms W.M.D. is a nice return to form, reflecting on the Worms games of old while, at the same time, looking better than it ever has. It’s the best of both worlds, if you don’t mind some comical carnage.
The game rules are still fairly simple – it’s a kill or be killed scenario on a side-scrolling battlefield, where you have to tactfully aim your shots and make the most out of your limited weaponry. At first, you’ll start with the basics – dynamite, rocket launcher, shotgun – but eventually, you’ll unlock more creative tools of the trade, like the OMG Strike (one of the best Worms weapons in years – perhaps even on the level of the exploding sheep) and the Dodgy Phone Battery. It’s a loony, yet insanely good, mixture of tools that keep the game fresh.
In addition, you’ll have access to vehicles and other helpful abilities that will help you get around the map, so you don’t have to be stuck in one place and simply wait for the enemy to pummel you. Movement is a good part of the strategy, and these will help you get around much more quickly than the crawl you usually move at. They are worms, after all.
There’s also a crafting system that’s very good, as you can put together new tools with the right parts and expand your arsenal a little bit. It can take a little time, but you’ll find it to be quite rewarding in the long haul, especially if you’re taking on crafty online player that offer a greater offensive than the usual AI skill set.
Speaking of multiplayer, that’s Worms W.M.D.’s greatest asset. While the campaign and tutorial offer plenty of single player fun, it’s taking on your friends (either locally or online through Xbox Live or PlayStation Network) that makes the game that much more glorious. There can be times that a match can take a little while to start up, but it’s certainly worth it once you start dropping bombs on one another and unleashing comical commentary. You thought players got mad at you in Mario Kart 8? Wait until you see how they react when you wipe out their armada with a swift air strike. Cursing galore.
I’m also appreciative of the much simpler presentation. Rather than going all out with another average 3D display, Worms W.M.D. reverts back to traditional 2D, with a number of dazzling map designs and easy to use camera controls. For that matter, the new art style really goes miles beyond what the previous Worms Revolution games did, and adds to the comical splendor. The cosmetic designs you can unlock are cool as well – and Team 17 even went all out to add something from the Yooka-Laylee line. You’ll see.
I love the dialogue as well. The characters in Worms may be divided up into basic teams, but the way those teams are personified with hilarious banter (wait until you hear the Streaming Gamer team) is excellent. You’ll want to try out each one just to see what they have to say.
In short, Worms W.M.D. is probably the best that the series has been in years. While it doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel in terms of how the game is played, it adds an awesome amount of components, costumes and weapons to make it feel right at home. Plus, the multiplayer is still the best around, especially if you find some truly devoted Worms players that know a thing or two about strategy. I dig the presentation as well, and certainly hope that Team 17 keeps this art style for years to come.
Don’t have Worms yet? Well, you’ll want to get this batch. (In a good way.)