Worms W.M.D is the newest entry in Team17’s artillery strategy game franchise. Over the last 20 years, Worms has evolved, with Team17 trying to up the ante each time (Worms 3D anyone?) trying to capture what makes the games so much fun. This time, the team take it back to the basics in an effort to recapture that spark.
Over the years the Worms franchise as seen many different iterations. From Worms Crazy Golf to Worms 3D, to Worms Revolution; the one with Matt Berry as the voice over. While they’ve all born the name ‘Worms’, they’ve lacked a certain charm; unable to live up to the staple of all Worms games: Worms Armageddon. Hold onto your Viking hats, but I’m going to say something outrageous. I think this is about to change.
Worms W.M.D takes the tried and tested formula and adds a little extra. The whole game has been given an artistic overhaul; while the look is a little different to what we’re used to, the feel is right where it should be. The aim of the game hasn’t changed at all in 20 years. Opposing teams of well-armed Lumbricina take it in turns to explode, bomb, burn and prod their enemies to death using a variety of quirky weapons.
Worms W.M.D offers a stylish, hand-drawn look with angular features. More comic-book than cute. It works well. It adds a new coat of paint to a tired-looking franchise and gives it the facelift it needed to stay current. That’s not to say the gameplay needed to change. Team17 has stripped Worms W.M.D back to the basics and delivered a game that’s both familiar and new.
This time, the worms arsenal has grown significantly. Fan favourites return, such as the Concrete Donkey, Holy Hand Grenade and Old Woman, but Team17 have added a bunch of new dangerous goodies for players to collect and craft. Crates that spawn during matches not only provide players with new ways to destroy their opponents, but they can also yield crafting items. The new crafting mechanic now allows players to build weapons that may not be initially available to them, giving some of the old faithfuls an upgrade. For example, the Uzi can be upgraded to the Minigun, while the Fire Punch can be upgraded to the Mega Punch. Crafting can be performed during your own turn and even during your opponent’s turn, alleviating some of the boredom while waiting for the AI to make its move. Weapons can even be dismantled to provide more resources. A risky tactic, but one that can pay off if you’re lucky.
Another addition to the series is the W.M.Ds. Worms can now hop in giant mech suits, tanks and helicopters to help crush their foe. These powered up death machines are close to unstoppable and deal a lot of damage in a single turn, giving the team in control a huge advantage in combat. The machines take visible damage on the field, giving an indication when they’re close to destruction. If you’re worm happens to be inside when one is destroyed, he’ll take some damage, but will live on to fight another day. As I was playing on the PlayStation 4 version, when a worm is in a vehicle his usual chatter comes through the controller speaker as if he is speaking through a radio. A nice little touch.
The terrain has also had some TLC in the interactive department. Many houses can now be entered offering protection from airborne projectiles and many maps have mounted guns dotted around the place. Much like the W.M.Ds, these mounted machine guns, sniper rifles and mortar launchers deal a great amount of damage and can easily turn the tide of any match. Worms W.M.D offers players more and more ways for players to destroy one another, keeping each match fresh and different. Though in fairness, my favourite weapon is still the Old Woman.
With Worms predominantly being a multiplayer game, I found the single-player campaign to be a little lacking. Realistically I found that it serves to introduce players to the new features and weapons more than anything else. Progressing through the 50 or so missions will allow players to unlock more speech banks, hats, finishing dances and more to customise your wormy army.
My only gripe with the game, and it really is nit-picking, is the framerate sometimes drops when the AI is making a choice during a single-player game. Other than this, Worms W.M.D is a solid entry into the franchise; one that both hardcore veterans and uneducated newbies will enjoy. It would be nice if the solo campaign was longer, but realistically Worms is a multiplayer experience and always has been.
Worms W.M.D doesn’t take itself too seriously, and therein lies the fun. Poking an enemy Worm off of the edge of a cliff is just as much fun as it was 20 years ago and the Holy Hand Grenade still strikes fear into the hearts of many. Team17 has hit the nail on head with the latest entry. It feels fresh, but at the same time, it’s familiar to longtime fans of the series. The new mechanics are a welcome addition to the series and help shake things up a bit without overpowering the user. If you’ve yet to try a Worms game, W.M.D is a great starting point. If you’re a fan, then what are you waiting for?