Reviewed: March 14, 2007
Released: March 7, 2007
The first time I ever played Worms wasnít on a computer as most people likely experienced it, for me it was on the Nintendo Entertainment System; and while Iím positive I never bought the game or received it as a gift from anyone, Iím fairy sure I did rent it a few times; probably to waste away a lazy weekend with some friends. The truth is Worms wasnít really the type of game I would normally buy, but if I knew friends would be coming over, it was always a great selection for killing some time and messing around with.
I remember thinking it was a great concept for a game, something original, something fresh and something that was surprisingly a lot of fun to play; and while the single player game was okay; the multiplayer totally blew it away. There was nothing more enjoyable than waging worm warfare against some friends. Taking turns and blowing each other away with various weapons of death and destruction was great fun, and often the battles would become a source of unexpected hilarity. Attacking and enemy with a weapon would often backfire, and due to the unpredictability of the gameplay, there were moments when riotous laughter would hit us. It was an enjoyable game; at least until our rental time was up or our supply of beer was depleted, whichever came first.
Worms has come in many different forms over the years, including versions in both its original 2D form and upgraded 3D. Appearing on virtually every console imaginable, including portables like the Sony PSP, Worms for Xbox Live Arcade thankfully has more in common with the original classic Worms, like the one I knew from the Super Nintendo. So the questions remains, is a game that was so much fun to play back in the mid 90ís still as much fun to play today on the 360? Well read on asexual invertebrates and weíll discuss it deeper.
Worms features some quick and easy training tutorials to get you up to speed on the gameplay, along with that, 20 single player challenges await, but forget all that, because if youíre not planning to play Worms online, or at the very least against some friends in your own living room, then their isnít much point in downloading it. This game screams to be played against other people, thatís where that fun is and where it has always been.
Seriously, playing Worms against some genuine human beings is where itís at. While there is some fun to be had against the computer, nothing beats playing against people who can make the same stupid mistakes in battle that I can, and often do. The fun and unpredictability of this game comes not only from the fact that you never know what weapon the enemy is going to use against you, but how itís use may effect the remainder of the match. With fully destructible environments, what once was land can turn into a huge, insurmountable crater if enough explosive go off. And while items like teleporters, jetpacks and grappling guns are available to make moving about the levelís terrain a little less difficult, things can and often donít work out according to plan, which is what make this game so great. Itís the chaos theory, you know, action and reaction.
The game comes with a whole host of weapons, and while the concept of using dynamite or a bazooka may sound as basic as aiming and pulling the trigger, using these weapons effectively can be a huge challenge in itself. While itís fun to kill the enemy, a poorly planned attack can often result in your own death.
While planting a stick of dynamite next to an enemy can result in an easy kill, sometimes getting away from the blast radius can be a bit of a challenge, especially when youíre a worm and donít have any legs. Sure you can jump, sort of, but worms really arenít all that athletic or agile. Truth be told, itís a good thing worms donít have any legs, because in all likelihood if they did; youíd probably blow them off with explosives before the game ended.
The bazooka can be devastating. Blowing an enemy away from a distance and occasionally blowing them right off the land to a watery death can be awesome, especially if you manage to hit more than one, but bazookas can also be lethal to their user. If you miscalculate the aim and power of your shot when compensating for the wind, the shell might fly right back in your face and kill you instead.
You might be thinking that this game doesnít sound like fun at all; to be killed by your own weapons, but truth be told, it all adds to the challenge and humour of Worms and itís gameplay. Itís hard not to laugh when you screw up big time and do yourself in purely by accident. Iíve played online and seen other players waste themselves many times. The surprising this is, most players just shrug it off and take it with a grain of salt; seeing it as more as an unfortunate and funny accident than a reason to get pissed off and quit. Itís just the way this game and its community are. Light-hearted.
As I mentioned, there are tons of weapons at your disposal and most of them are relatively safe to use. Air strikes, landmines, shotguns, uzies, hand-to-hand karate moves, killer exploding sheep, the diversity is pretty good. All the weapons are fun to use, and as the saying goes, you just need to use the right tool for the job.
Overall I love this game, especially on Xbox Live. 4 armies or players can battle it out, each with 4 expendable worms at their disposal. With 16 worms all fighting it out within close quarters, it can get pretty crazy. Granted, itís turn based and can get slow sometimes, but this serves to give you a chance to plan your strategy, because this is after all, a strategy game Ė even if a very light-hearted one.
Worms comes with the usual 12 achievements totalling 200 gamerscore. For the most part theyíre spread out rather nicely. All of them are obtainable, which is great since some of the arcade games released so far seem to have a few nearly impossible achievements; these at least can be done. Itís also nice that their not too easy, it takes a little commitment and dedication from the player to get them, but at least youíll have fun doing it.
In all its high definition glory, Worms looks pretty darn good. The game is essentially 2D throughout, but it still manages to look crisp, clean and visually appealing. The worms, while small overall, animate nicely and look well, as good as worms can. The explosive effects are passable, but could have used a little more brilliance; maybe some better lighting and/or particles may have beef of the visuals a tad more.
While some may wonder how a gorgeous game like Assault Hero can look so much better than worms and use virtually the same amount of their 50mb game size restriction, one needs to remember one very important thing. Worms is coded so that it is able to generate a virtually limitless variety of battlefields. Meaning that while the textures and artwork may never really change, the obstacles and shape of the landscape can be rendered in pretty much any form imaginable. This means thousands, maybe millions of different battlefields await and are at your disposal, and this if nothing else adds tons of re-play value. Pretty cool.
Musically the game is pretty empty, so fire up the Gladiator soundtrack or whatever it is you like to do your killing by.
As for the sound, well, the effects arenít anything special, they manage to get the job done and thatís really all you can ask for. The worms on the other hand, they can get pretty annoying as they shout out various comments during battle in a variety of different languages. It gets old pretty fast and the squeaky, high pitch tone of their voices can irritate a person rather quickly. Sound isnít this gameís strongest point, but then itís also the least vital in this case.
Maybe youíre the type of person that canít get enough of Texas Holdíem, because of the slow, strategic aspects of it, or maybe itís because you love a social game. Well if you do, Worms may be worth a look. (I canít believe I just compared Worms to Poker). Worms is a game that for a tolerable 800 marketplace points offers the same sort of enjoyment.
Worms' online battles are slow, methodical, unpredictable, and humorous social events. As an online game, itís fantastic. Had it not been for online play, this title would have no value to me what so ever. However, with near limitless map designs, itís a game Iím sure to get into from time to time, especially when I just want to kick back and relax to something simple.
Worms offers almost limitless level designs, great multiplayer action for 4 people online and off and a basic but vital ingredient for any game Ė fun! It sports simple but crisp visuals that are well done and serve the games needs nicely, now if only the sound were a little less annoying, this would be a near perfect package. Worms was a great game when I played it with friends 10 years ago, and itís a great game online with complete strangers today.