Reviewed: April 8, 2006
Released: March 24, 2006
I remember my first experience playing Worms: Armageddon back in 1999. It was one of the easiest pick-up-and-play games out there. The multiplayer aspect was a huge portion of what I loved and I would play it online with my friends every night. Besides Command and Conquer Red Alert and StarCraft it was my 3rd most played game.
For the last several years Team17 has been trying to create a solid 3D version of their popular games like Worms Forts: Under Siege and Worms 3D. But this year Team17 decided to go back to the series original (and best) 2D look and thank goodness. Worms: Open Warfare is the first 2D worms game since 2001 when Worms World Party was released.
Open Warfare Features:
Worms: Open Warfare features classic turn based strategic gameplay. It is still easy to pick up and play; meaning any and everyone can play this game. For those who aren’t familiar with worms, they are a self-replicating computer program, which most people think of as being similar to a computer virus. Just kidding…worms are the characters each player gets when they begin a game.
Each side gets a small platoon of them and you play on randomly selected, destructible landscapes. Each player has the ability to use a multitude of ground weapons and projectiles like the classic bazooka, homing missile, grenades, shotgun, landmines, sheep, and a blowtorch to name a few (20 in all).
Wind direction and speed affects these projectiles when you use them. When you shoot them at one of the opposing worms you must take the wind into consideration and adjust accordingly.
As the commander of your platoon of worms it is your job to keep them alive. Each worm has a health bar, which is depleted when they are hurt by the other player’s weapons. If at any time a worm falls into water, it drowns and that worm is eliminated. Essentially your goal is to be the last worm standing.
Variables come into play when you consider the randomly placed bonus items on the playing field. There are also traps like landmines lying around to derail your plans. You can use the destructible landscape to hide behind, in, and under to protect yourself. Other times the landscape will hinder your ability to survive when one of your worms is (unfortunately) placed near water making it easy for your opponent to exploit that opportunity.
The controls are quirky because you are forced to use the stylus when you never should have to. You’ll have to keep it in one hand as while you play to select your weapon during each turn. Using the stylus feels forced and it’s an annoyance. Hopefully developers will stop forcing the stylus into games that shouldn’t use it.
When it comes down to it, the core gameplay remains intact, but it’s everything else (primarily the graphics/camera) that sadly ruin this version of worms.
One thing is for sure, the graphics suck. I hardly ever come out and say it that bluntly, but it’s another one of the things that has become a common theme in this game. The reasons are obvious; the characters are rendered at low resolution and are extremely pixilated. Add to that an unstable background that flickers every few seconds because the engine can’t keep up with the simple graphics and you have your self the definition of “bad graphics.”
These are huge oversights and you would think game testers would have caught such enormous problems. Maybe Team 17 doesn’t care about these major issues or were unable to fix them. Maybe they just want to cash in on this old series, which the developer is only known for. Either way it is pathetic and I now have less respect for Team17.
All of the classic and hilarious one-liners are here. Their cute European humor is here along with all the familiar explosion, warping, wind, and water sound effects. The background music is upbeat, witty, and changes to fit each level nicely. Nothing was cut from the game in this department and that’s a first for this game.
The game’s various modes such as quick game, create a game, challenges, and multiplayer make up its core value. Most people will either create their own single player game or they will play a quick game and let the computer randomize the levels and weapons. I prefer the quick game because you can get right into the thick of things without a lot of setup.
For those of you who have a friend who owns a DS you can play multiplayer with only one card. You’ll just have to download it on to your buddy’s DS and you’re good to go. Multiplayer like this is the best, but with Nintendo WiFi out it should have been a must to implement it. It would have been the coolest thing to take this game online, despite its downfalls, for some multiplayer action with your friends who aren’t close by or random opponents. It’s yet another disappointment Worms: Open Warfare delivers.
Worms: Open Warfare is a nice return to the series 2D roots (where it started and belongs). Unfortunately this game is better suited for the PSP with its widescreen more so than the DS, where it feels crunched. If you have both portables then get the PSP version, and if you don’t, then I’d sadly say skip it.
I am a huge Worms fan and I even bought myself a copy for my old and unused NGage a while back. With that being said, you can understand my disappointment and reservations about this game. You just can’t get into a game that relies so heavily on being able to see the enemy on the screen at the same time as yourself. The DS version of Worms: Open Warfare fails to capture the feel of the worm’s series and that is its greatest downfall.