I’ve always shared an affection for the Worms franchise. The little earthbound soldiers with freakishly humorous accents are forever ready to go to war, armed to the teeth with a wide assortment of hilariously designed weapons with which to annihilate and embarrass the opposing team. Love em’ or hate em’, the Worms series has always had that something special about it. Whether you’re hiding below ground inside a perfectly constructed tunnel of your own design – praying for sweet salvation from an incoming airstrike or frantically flinging yourself around a randomly generated map like something straight out of cer du soleil, Worms games have always possessed the perfect blend of charm, wit, humour, frustration and skill about them – a beautiful combination that has served the franchise well throughout the past 21 years.
The latest addition to the beloved series – Worms W.M.D. plays similar to that of series high point Worms Armageddon while introducing adorable new features such as crafting, vehicles and accessible buildings but where does it stand in the long running series?
Worms W.M.D.: PlayStation 4, Xbox One [Reviewed], PC
Developer: Team 17
Publisher: Team 17
Release Date: 23 August 2016
Price: £19.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Developer/Publisher]
In my opinion, Worms games have always been well rounded, with every new addition to the series slightly tweaking and better developing upon what is an already successful franchise. The introduction of a system that allows players to craft weapons and other items on the fly during online matches is both inventive and exciting. Crafting in W.M.D. not only prods (pardon the pun) the series in a different direction, it also brilliantly throws in a new tactical dimension for players to get their heads around. A new dimension that tempts and teases players to step out from under that well-placed girder they’ve been patiently camping beneath, in order to grab that all important material crate hovering tantalisingly close to their vicinity. Although, as exciting as crafting with Worms W.M.D. is it sure isn’t the easiest feature to work out.
With limited instructions, players could comfortably spend a long time figuring out the basics whilst wasting their own turn and subsequently being pummeled into the bright blue ocean by the opposite team over and over. Trial and error, everything available for crafting in W.M.D. can easily be constructed from simply dismantling an item in your inventory to scooping up a wooden crate with materials inside, with all the games weapons and items craftable plus wonderful and deadlier variations of each weapon. From gas grenades to angry donkey’s, W.M.D. allows players to craft just about everything in a matter of moments, it’s also an action that can be even performed during the enemies turn while the player waits. As a feature, crafting beautifully heightens the drama of each multiplayer match, with your opponent (much like yourself) now capable of crafting a weapon of mass destruction that could potentially end a match at every turn.
When not scaling the land in search of precious parts to inflict bloody murder upon the enemy team players can be found bouncing, yes bouncing about in tanks, gliding from pillar to post in robotic mech’s or hovering in the sky, drilling you repeatedly with a helicopter until you’re forced to pop a tiny grenade in your small worm mouth and blow yourself straight to worm hell. Team 17 has gone full out war machine on us with some truly alarming weapons of mass destruction and boy are they fun to use. Available from the get go or dropped in randomly throughout matches, W.M.D.‘s new toys are both your best friend and your worst enemy in equal servings. Jumping into a tank to cannonball blast an enemy worm out of a tree and deep into next week might at first seem like a fantastic idea however, retreating to a safe distance before your turn abruptly ends can be a thankless task at the best of times, despite the ability to jump up and down like a lowrider during an east L.A car meet. As much damage as the 3 goliaths can undoubtedly deliver they are all too easily taken out by a mortar strike, airstrike or pretty much anything for that matter, which leaves the accused worm frantically attempting to get out of the machine to head for the safety of cover.
Speaking of cover, the intricate buildings throughout Worms W.M.D. can now be accessed, providing a great source of both crafting materials and health, not to mention offering a temporary safe haven from the ensuing carnage outside. Hiding inside the walls of such a building can also allow a player time to plot their next move without being an easy target to hit. Once inside the sometimes safe confines of a building the opposition cannot see what you see, whilst you see a wealth of tunnels inside, your opponent only sees the outside of the building, thus not making you an easy target with your location well hidden from view. While not all buildings are not accessible, most are and this plays nicely into the hands of a player who likes to take their time plotting or scheming, players in it for the long haul.
Without question, the best action to be had in Worms W.M.D. is with its multiplayer. Whilst the game offers online play, the most fun will undoubtedly be had locally with up to four players on a Friday night with a few beers. Taking on friends in Worms has always held great appeal, a mode where friends and family frantically fight amongst each other, usually with comical results. Whether you find yourself failing to execute that double jump to escape the imminent explosion of a dynamite stick placed oh so delicately next to a friend or pulling off outlandish moves that eliminate multiple worms in a single hit, Worms multiplayer is the video game equivalent of Buckaroo or Frustration, the allure has been evident throughout the past 21 years and remains a steadfast feature in today’s game.
Stepping away from multiplayer Worms W.M.D. also boasts a fun single-player mode made up of a series of varied challenge levels which reward players with new accents, clothing items and more once completed. W.M.D.‘s single player campaign is broken down into challenges which offer a range of different gameplay. Training tasks players to beat a set time with a set weapon or item, Campaign throws numerous objectives at players in a single mission which all need to be completed to gain a reward, Challenge levels are unlocked by collecting hidden posters within the Campaign, while there are also bonus challenges to be completed. All rewards carry through to multiplayer leaving single player definitely worth indulging in if you want your team to have the little bit of extra swag in battle.
Worms W.M.D. brilliantly incorporates the gameplay we’ve come to know and love with a mixture of exciting new additions thrown in for good measure. Brilliantly building on the success of Armageddon, Worms W.M.D. is the best game in the series to date and is both charming, intelligent while bulging with hilariously off the cuff remarks and quirky accents. It’s really quite simple, Worms W.M.D. makes game nights fun, there really is something quite cathartic about lining up a baseball bat to send a friend hurtling into the ocean and it’s something you’d happily repeat over and over, a game where even if you lose…you win. Full value for money.