Weapons of crass destruction.
The Worms series seems determined to be the longest running franchise in history. It is hard to fathom that these quirky games would still be seeing new releases all these years later. I remember the first Worms game I played; that was a long time ago. That means two things: I am getting way too old, and Team17’s series has some true lasting power, or at least plenty of stubbornness.
Worms W.M.D. is the latest game in the series, and players are surely asking themselves, “why should I care?” Well for starters, for those that have never played the series, this is most finely tuned entry in years. Everything from the menus to the tutorials is designed in a way that makes jumping into this surprisingly complex strategy game fairly painless. There are a bevy of instructional missions that teach every facet of the game, each with their own challenges as well as earning players XP to unlock new cosmetic items.
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
For those that have not played a Worms game, the premise certainly isn’t complex. The game takes place on a 2D plane as players take turns attempting to thwart their opponent with a series of attacks. Every worm has a personality. It is extremely comical, while also being extremely violent. Think of ridiculous Saturday morning cartoons and you get the picture. Worms W.M.D. doesn’t toy with this formula. It has been around for over 20 years, and it works. Instead W.M.D. brings a few new knives to this gun fight.
The biggest change is the ability to craft new weapons. Want to modify that exploding sheep? That can be arranged. During the lengthy single player campaign players can opt to craft on their turn, as well as the AI’s turn. Players can break down weapons and salvage pieces of scrap to craft and enhance already existing weapons. The possibilities are plentiful and super satisfying, especially when I managed to craft something that laid waste to the other team.
Vehicles are now a part of the game, and are placed on various places around different maps. The first team to get to them gets access, and they are as game-changing as one would expect. Lay waste in a tank or helicopter, or relive the ultimate dream of becoming a worm in a mech suit. Yes I said that, and yes, it is incredibly awesome.
Multiplayer is where Worms shines though, and W.M.D. is no exception. Local is still the best way to play, but online is serviceable in times of great need. The options are slim as far as modes go, with just ranked and unranked playlists online, but the customization of games and game types is nice. This is a turn-based game, so lag was rarely an issue. Sadly, there are not a lot of people playing online right now, clearly they missed the memo on how awesome these games are when played with friends. I just really wish there was more to keep me coming back.
There are a lot of things to unlock in W.M.D., and the new XP system works great as a carrot-on-a-stick method to keep me playing. I was constantly unlocking something new to customize my Worms with, which was great.
The visual style feels both refined and familiar. This is a Worms game, and it shows, but so much care has been taken with environments and design that it just feels more colorful and fun. I love the slick presentation and menu style, but I really wish the audio cues didn’t execute so frequently. I used the valley girl voice for one match, and I almost smashed my face into a wall. It was that annoying.
Worms W.M.D. is great re-entry point for people like me who have sort of fallen off the wagon with the series over time. It keeps what I remember, and refines what I had issues with. The hilarity is still there, the solid game play shines above the rest, and it feels good to be back.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.