Since the dawn of computers (well … 1995) worms have been popping up on each and every platform known to mankind, locked in an endless war. However it’s been many years since they popped their squidgy but helmeted heads onto the PC and now, obviously under the advice of Sarah Palin, they’ve not retreated but reloaded set to wage their spineless battles again on the desktop computer. The last Worms PC game was released in a pre-Steam world and the gaming scene has changed so much, so will they emerge victoriously? Read on to find out…
For those who have never played a Worms game here’s the basics: it’s a turn based 2D strategy battle game in which teams of up to four cartoon worms try and annihilate the opposing teams using a variety of madcap and deadly weapons. These range from bazookas to rampaging bulls and all deal death and destruction to other worms and the environments you’re battling in. The amount of weaponry and tunneling/building tools allows for a lot of strategy in battle while making the game fun to play, even for the newest of players.
Team 17 have added to the game with each new release since the original in 1995 and Reloaded has lots of battle types and several single player modes to get to grips with. The campaign mode gives you 36 levels including battles, puzzles and timed challenges to play through, these vary in quality and some can be frustrating in their execution, but it is nice to see something new thrown into the mix. Then there is the, now obligatory, horde mode ‘Bodycount’ where you take one worm through waves of enemies, this is a nice addition and with the added leader boards could be quiet addictive to compete against friends, but more on that later.
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Online the game is equally bursting with different modes; play against friends or enemies and with Steamworks integration it works well enough. A chat room for each game is an old school bonus that gives you an opportunity to lay a verbal smackdown on your opposition before and after matches. The Steamworks integration also means achievements but here they have dropped the holy hand grenade, 12 achievements for the game is not enough. With the amount of humour injected into the game they should be dropping pun based achievements on players at every possible chance. Instead, there are actual achievements that don’t add anything to the game except for the most committed of players.
In essence Worms is best played with friends, be it on the same computer or online, that is how the game should be played. Silent battles against computer controlled invertebrates or random strangers just aren’t as much fun. This is also where the price becomes a sticky issue. Worms is a classic idea, it’s been updated and Team 17 have certainly thrown enough new modes in to bulk out the basic premise, but at £18 they have priced it out of the impulse purchase bracket which it needs to occupy. There is a four pack for £53 but even this would put off most gamers at first glance. Team 17 have applied a premium price to the Worms name which in today environment won’t help sales and for a game that is best played against friends you might be hard pressed to find someone you know to play against. This game cries outs for a Steam sale where people who’ve played the game in some form over the years will purchase it for the Worms name and will enjoy it with friends.