When I start by admitting that I haven’t properly played a Worms game since the first instalment, back on the original PlayStation, what I’m really doing is confessing to a most egregious sin, because if any of the entries in this long running IP, are as entertaining as Worm W.M.D, then I owe Team17 an enormous backlog of both my time and money. That being said though, my mistake of having not ventured into a Worms battle-ground in so long, doesn’t by any means imply that I had totally forgotten how these slimy critters get things done. After just my first hour of play in Worms W.M.D, I had already completed it’s handful of optional practice missions and was feeling more than ready to get stuck into the main campaign as a result. What I’d soon discover I was getting myself into however, would ultimately turn out to be an entirely unexpected love affair.
How it all works:
Aside from being chock-full of visually distinct and wonderfully illustrated environments to traverse, do battle upon and eventually decimate with a wide variety of imaginative armaments, W.M.D’s campaign is essentially just one long checklist of missions. A simplicity that I found works exceptionally well in the game’s favour, to the point that it must have actually been a very conscious design choice. For you see, with each stage consisting of one main objective, such as defeating all the opponents, and then three extra, more difficult to attain goals like killing a worm in a specific manner, or not using a certain item that may have otherwise proved very useful in that particular battle or terrain. What this simple structuring ultimately ends up doing for W.M.D’s player, is challenge them to experiment and think outside the box of your usual turn-based strategy game. A continuous and seamlessly integrated teaching of the game’s mechanics, that less than insult the player’s intelligence, it actually encourages them, at the pace of their own entertainment, to think and plan more methodically. Efforts which, in face of a no doubt masterfully engineered and progressively unforgiving AI, will toward the game’s later offerings become essential for success.
So when coupling this brilliant, yet complementary modest design with visual and audio stylings that, amongst all, just as well stuck in my mind as a reason to keep coming back. Be it the ambient musical scores and weapon sound effects, that at times had me remembering certain ‘Triple-A’ tiles. Or the charming, Saturday-morning cartoon approach, rendered throughout; mix this all together, and you have a game that, on the surface, appears an instalment of merely unassuming fun. Though once played, soon reveals itself an entity of refined and addictive play, all whilst being wrapped in aesthetics that are both original and distinctly, ‘Worms’. However this is not to say that the game is without error. For even though it is very minor, W.M.D does indeed harbour at least one issue I feel necessary to address. That being that, when it is an enemy’s turn and they are in, or entering a building. You as the player cannot see what they’re doing, as compared to how the building will become transparent when your own combatants do the same. A small annoyance that throughout my play I tried to ignore, but on occasions found it difficult to do so, given there were times when I had up to four opponents adopting this marginally unfair advantage. Aside from this though, I overall feel W.M.D has little to no cons.
The extra bells and whistles:
Should you, during the campaign, discover a wanted poster mixed in with the many weapon crates and health packs dotted around the levels, you’ll trigger an arrest-warrant – Said arrest-warrant will unlock an exclusive mission for W.M.D’s challenge mode for you to tackle; These shorter, less busy excursions will often see you at the control of just a single Worm, pitting you up against the infamous bandit the found bounty was for. A worm that will frequently have more heath than yours and or in some other way, seat the advantage from the start. I found these to be a nice little bonus which when trying to both complete and unlock, added just that little bit of extra challenge to the single player experience.
Multiplayer however, is an element of W.M.D that I unfortunately had not the pleasure or ability to entertain. Though I was able to see that with the addition of customisable teams, adjustable stage settings such a weapons and vehicle prevalence for both local and online play. Multiplayer certainly looks to be just as, if not more so fun than going it alone.
After thoroughly enjoying this game as much as I truly have, I am more than happy to conclude in saying that Worm’s W.M.D, whilst not a reinvention, is without a doubt an excellent refinement of a classic formula. One that has been brought up to date with a spanking new coat of paint. The inclusion of thrilling to use weapons, both new and old, and the implementation of Team17’s clearly masterful grasp of modern game physics, combined with an overall easy to pick up and play experience which quickly transforms into hours of addictive gameplay leads to one HELL of a fun game. Every move you make counts in W.M.D, so do yourselves a favour and pick up this game. You won’t regret it.
I would rate Worms WMD an 8.5 Out of 10. A must play!
Written and Reviewed by Louie Chudley.