Worms W.M.D Review

By Mike Sousa on August 30, 2016

The first Worms title was released back in 1995, over two decades ago, a game that combined the best of strategy, cartoonish violence and crazy weapons. Since then, the series had many releases across several platforms, and even though there were a few changes here and there, the core gameplay remained the same for a large majority of these games. With the latest entry in the series, Worms W.M.D, developer Team 17 delivers a game that remains faithful to the gameplay and presentation of the original game, while also implementing some new ideas and mechanics that add a lot more strategy to the game.

Most of you should probably know how the gameplay system of Worms works. Two or more teams of worms fight against each other in turn-based action-strategy battles. During your turn you have a set amount of time (usually around 45-60 seconds) to move a worm and/or attack the enemy team. With an enormous arsenal, which can go from simple bazookas and grenades to sheeps and banana bombs, the game offers enough options and freedom to adapt to each situation. There's also some skill involved, as you will have to aim and throw/fire the weapon, so it's not guaranteed that you will hit your target, especially when it's far from you. After your turn ends, it's your opponent's turn, and during this time all you can is watch and pray that your opponent fails to hit you.

In terms of game modes, Worms W.M.D doesn't differ that much from other games in the series. There's several single player game modes, including campaign mode, training levels, challenges, and bonus stages. Campaign mode and Bonus stages feature optional goals, which add some replay value. Completing these optional objectives increases your rank and unlocks customizations items. The real blast, however, comes with the multiplayer, which is supported locally and online.

Training levels work like a tutorial where you will learn and train how to use each weapon, while Campaign mode puts you in missions against AI controlled enemies. Bonus stages are similar to campaign levels, with the difference being that you are given a very limited arsenal. As for challenge mode, players will have think outside the box to complete these levels, as they work more like puzzles than actually combat. For example, if the enemy worm is out of reach you can place a dynamite right next to you and the explosion will project you to your target.

While all this that I mentioned above is nothing new to Worms veterans, that doesn't mean that the game doesn't have any additions. Worms W.M.D features some new gameplay mechanics that add a lot of depth and strategy to the classic formula. One of these additions are indoor areas or buildings. Like you are probably guessing, these areas are very useful to protect your worms from your opponent's attack, but there's more than just that. Unless your one of the enemy worms is also inside the building, your opponent can't see anything of what's going on inside. This not only gives protection to your worms, since the enemy has no idea where they are, but can also be used to attack your opponent, such as leaving mines or a turret at the entrance and catch your enemy off guard. However, this is also a slight problem, since buildings are sometimes hard to tell apart from the scenario.

Another addition that's new in the series are vehicles. These include Tanks, Helicopters and Mechs. The tank can move through the landscape, jump and fire three sets of two shells to deal damage to the enemy. The Helicopter allows you to fly to anywhere on the field and features a minigun to attack at enemies below you. The Mech can jump higher than worms and the tank, glide large distances like a parachute, and perform powerful ground pounds that sends your enemy flying and deals a lot of damage. While good for offensive, the vehicles are also effective from a defensive perspective, as worms inside the vehicles take less damage when attacked. However, you can't rely on this tactic forever since the vehicle will explode after sustaining a certain number of attack and damage everyone around it. In addition, your enemies can steal your vehicle, even if you are inside it, during their turn, so it also becomes advisable to not let the enemy be near you in these situations.

Scattered around the battlefield, you can also find mounted guns, including stationary snipers rifles, machine guns and flamethrowers. While not a major addition, these serve their purpose as weapons with immense firepower. Similar to vehicles, these mounted guns can also explore, which means that you can take advantage if an opponent is using it.

The most revolutionary addition in Worms W.M.D is crafting. While previous Worms games had you collecting crates whenever you were nearly out of weapons or wanted a more powerful one, Worms W.M.D gives players the ability to craft their own weapons as long as they have the ingredients to do so. In addition, although it costs more ingredients, you can also craft more powerful versions of the normal weapons, such as the bazooka pie, mega punch or the poisoned dynamite.

Unlike any other action, crafting can be done either on your turn or on your opponent's, but you are only able to craft one weapon at a time and it takes a turn for the process to be complete. This is an interesting choice, as it allows you to actually do something, besides waiting for your enemy to do its move, while possibly also preparing your next attack. If you don't have any ingredients and have any weapons you don't need, you can dismantle them and earn some ingredients in the process, which is always a nice alternative to going around the map wasting time just to get the ingredients crate.

While the game offers some entertaining single-player modes, the multiplayer experience is where players get the most fun of the game. Worms has always been one of those games that's it's a real blast when playing with friends. With local and online multiplayer up to six players, Worms W.M.D will surely deliver some fun and hilarious moments. I was also pleasantly surprised with how much this game improved the online connection in comparison to previous games, as switching turns in previous games, such as Worms Battlegrounds, would sometimes take nearly a minute.

Another gameplay aspect that's worth mentioning is the amount of customization that the game has to offers. The game allows players to not only to choose their team's name, but also customize their worms' hats, speeches, victory dance, gravestones and fanfare. You can create maps using the random terrain generator, and create and customize the gameplay settings and schemes.

Visually, the game goes back to the classic 2D style but with a more cartoon-inspired character design and hand-drawn environments. The worms and the scenarios looks gorgeous, which manage to capture the charm of Worms perfectly. The animated cutscenes that introduce you to the game's weapons in a manner similar to the Ratchet & Clank series is also a nice addition.

Final Thoughts

Worms W.M.D brings back the classic 2D experience of the original Worms while also adding a few interesting ideas to the table. The introduction of vehicles, indoor areas and crafting adds a lot of depth and strategy to the gameplay without removing the fun of the classic formula. While there are a few minor issues, such as occasional camera problems, Worms W.M.D is a fun experience, especially in multiplayer, and one of the best Worms games in recent years.

Vehicles, indoor areas and crafting are really good additions.
It’s a blast to play with friends.
Charming and appealing 2D visuals.
Playing alone gets boring after a while.
Hard to distinguish buildings from the rest of the scenario.
Occasional problems with the camera.
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