By: Jeff Cater
Team17. Team-Mother$#%^&^@-17. Since the early ’90s they’ve been bedding arenas with mines, baseball bats, uzis, old ladies and even concrete donkeys, all so we could pit worm against worm in a hilarious and brutal fight to the death.
ENTER THE YEAR 2016. AUGUST. AIR RAID SIRENS RING. THE GROUND SHAKES. A WHITE FLASH. WORMS W.M.D ENTERS EARTHS ATMOSPHERE. THERE IS NO HIDING. THERE IS NO SAFETY. THE WORMS KNOW HOW TO DRIVE NOW.
When you’ve been honing a franchise for over 20 years, you tend to nail a few things down. Worms W.M.D is perfect, anyone that has ever played one before will know immediately what to do upon picking up a controller, and anyone that is new will have plenty of single-player scenarios and tutorials to help out.
In any case, movement of your chosen worm is still on the left stick. Once stationary, you can move the stick up or down to adjust your vertical aim angle, and once you’re committed to the shot you can press and hold the X button to throw a grenade or plot a rockets course. You can also replace the left stick with the directional pad in case you want to fine-tune a shot.
You jump with the square button or double tap it to initiate a higher, flipping jump. Pressing circle will bring up your weapon selection box, and this time around you can press R1 while in that menu to access the crafting menu. Triangle serves as your interaction button, whether you’re hopping a worm into the driver’s seat of a tank or a mortar turret.
Team17 has given the Worms a redesign, along with the battlefields on which they kill. These Worms lack the familiar white, giant eyes that we’ve grown used to, and now have been replaced with brown, almost pitted eyes. It’s a minor change, nothing too noticeable while playing.
What is extremely noticeable is the amount of detail they’ve started packing into the stage design. Not only do the environments look sharper, but they feature cool stuff like planes embedded into mountains, vines stringing from piece to piece and (optional) buildings that can actually be entered! As always, the weapon effects are extremely humorous and over-the-top.
Just as varied as the weaponry contained in the game are the sound effects and voices at play. Most of the sounds will be drowned out by your friends yelling “NOOOOOOO!” when you hit their last Worm with a banana bomb, but the ones that do get through are effective and hilarious.
If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise, you’re able to assemble and customize your own team of Worms. This entails picking victory dances, hats and voices for them, and in Worms W.M.D we’re presented with one of the best choices for a Worm voice ever: The Artist.
He is just a soft-spoken, calm Worm detailing the match in true Bob Ross fashion. “Let’s take a moment to look at the happy little creatures,” your Worm might remark, just before carpet bombing your enemies.
With fully customizable weapon and arena options, Worms W.M.D easily maintains the series’ top spot for party games. Whether you’re playing online or with friends, you may use any number of pre-made weapon and gameplay schemes that all feature different rules, weapons, health values, etc.
Those are all able to be edited as well, so if you don’t want your friends always resorting to the concrete donkey you can set the limit to one or turn them off altogether. Same goes with the vehicles that were just added to the game, which are fun (especially that silly helicopter) but might hasten the game too much for old-school Worms purists.
There’s also the random terrain generator so you can rest easy knowing that you’ll never fight in the same level unless you really want to. Another great addition is the inclusion of buildings that you can actually get your Worms to enter. Setting up an ambush or protecting yourself with these buildings often plays a big part in matches, but they can also be turned off for purists.
The real addition that Worms W.M.D brings is that there’s now a crafting mechanic — because it’s 2016 and people need to make things. Luckily it’s very light and doesn’t at all ruin the flow of gameplay. In Worms W.M.D, you’ll see crates fall from the sky not unlike past games. Rather than these containing entire weapons, however, they can contain components to make them or make upgraded versions of them.
Don’t think your Banana Bomb is lethal enough? Craft that sucker into a Super Banana Bomb over a turn’s time, and then really cause some destruction. These too can also be turned off, but when you’re given things that make bigger explosions in a Worms game, you just don’t turn them off.
If there’s one nit to pick it’s that they decided not to include the water grenade, which tickled our sadistic pickles in former releases. For shame.
Team17 continues to make games that are flat-out easy to justify buying. Worms W.M.D is stuffed with humor, explosions, silly weapons, explosions and tons of variety (and explosions). Online or offline, wars will be had. Worms will die. And you’ll do it all over again right after that.