Worms

Though the thought of having worms might not sound particularly appealing, the fact that Worms has now arrived on the Playstation 3 is actually very exciting. The Worms series of games has been immensely successful, with several cracking titles, each featuring the maniacal midgets, a bonkers range of weaponry and spades of comedy-filled insanity, all in two dimensions (best not to think too much about the departures into 3D). Worms on PS3 will be a trip down memory lane for many, combined with updated visuals and effects, and finely-tuned weaponry. The pink peperamis are armed to the teeth, plonked in the middle of a randomly-generated map, and set loose on eachother, leading to some of the most enjoyable tactical action seen outside of Command and Conquer.

Worms

The player is given command of a four-worm squad. Taking it in turns with opponents, you can take control of just one worm at a time, and select one weapon to use. The turn-based nature of the game is key to its success, since it leads to immense scope for strategy. For example, moving your worm to attack another may in turn leave your pink chum exposed to other dangers, so you have to be careful to allow for the things that could happen to your tiny earth-sunk pal before you're next put in charge. Levels are automatically generated by the game, and your teams of worms are distributed evenly across them. When in control of a worm, it's possible to move your worm a considerable distance by walking, jumping, swinging from ninja ropes or even using the limited supply of rocket packs. Once in position, the arsenal of offensive weaponry is superb, ranging from the tiny prod (a humiliating move designed to push precariously-placed worms to their doom) through to homing missiles, cluster bombs and air strikes, incorporating comic weaponry like exploding sheep (that spring across the terrain like fluff in strong wind until you detonate the unfortunate farm fellow), holy hand grenades (super-powered grenades accompanied by a chorus of hallelujah) and banana bombs (a sort of cluster bomb with, erm, explosive bananas). The most important thing about the weaponry is the balance though. Every single weapon is guaranteed to have a moment in the game where it's by far the best choice. Against multiple opponents, the cluster bomb might be preferable to the solitary grenade, while both might be neglected in favour of dynamite if the target is within walking distance. There's endless possibilities for the application of Worms weaponry, and the game succeeds brilliantly as a result.

The groups of willing participants find themselves thrown into battles in essentially one basic mode: a fight to the death. However, the game does present several options for this theme. Players can compete solely against the computer in pre-defined challenges or custom games, or take the fight to another human-controlled player. It's the latter mode where the game truly steps up a level. Available to play online or offline against human players, Worms is simply one of the best multiplayer experiences ever invented. Admittedly there's an initial learning curve in gauging when and how to use the right weaponry, but once immersed in the game, there's an enormous amount of mulitplayer-fun to be found. There's always a measure of unpredictability to the proceedings, which means that the best player won't always win. As it should be, skilled players will always stand a better chance of victory, since they will be able to exploit the game's deadly weaponry to greater effect, but every so often, a mine will topple in an unexpected direction, exploding and sending a leading worm straight into the ocean, or an unlucky grenade will clip an obstacle and bounce back oblivious of its own deadly deviation. The balanced weaponry and combat should make the game more accessible to new players, making Worms somewhat unusual amongst a wide range of extraordinarly good store titles that are, more often than not, designed for a more challenge-oriented audience (Burn Zombie Burn, for example).

Worms

The two-dimensional setting for Worms is perfect, and suits the nature of the weapons brilliantly. Every grenade thrown and rocket launched is backed by a quick mental calculation, with a target reticule assisting trajectory estimation. It's incredibly simple, with textures scarcely more complicated than the original Worms, but the high-definition sharpness, bright colours, flashy weaponry and cute animation bring together an effective visual display that does the job admirably, even if it doesn't showcase the power of PS3. It does emphasize the importance of great gameplay nicely, with the game proving considerably more enjoyable than the technically outstanding Killzone 2. The audio side of Worms is also relatively simple, with solid weapon effects completing the combat experience nicely, but it's the voicework that adds another layer to the game. There is a huge range of voices to choose from for each team of worms, including Scottish, Norweigan, Alien, Paranoid, Star Worms and many more, each incredibly unique and extremely entertaining. Speech samples are triggered by events during the game. For example, weapon crates are dropped intermittently, allowing worms to try and collect extra armaments. When a deposit is made, the Star Wars-influenced team can be heard calmly saying "I sense... Weaponry", while the Aliens exclaim "Ah! A package from my home planet". There's some truly outstanding lines in the huge array of choices, making it worth playing a game with each one active just to hear some of the best.

Worms on PS3 could be criticized for the lack of updates over previous releases, and it is perhaps short on options and modes (for example, what happened to extending the move time to infinity, allowing for intense long-term battles across the entire screen?), but the minor tweaks, as opposed to sweeping changes, maintain what was already a brilliant game, and give PS3 owners the chance to dabble. Worms is the sort of game that never really ages, and should be the sort of thing that players can dip into for months to come, whenever the mood takes them. It's not the sort of thing that begs many consecutive hours of play, it just encourages you to have a little fun here and there. Worms is a superb addition to the Playstation Network whose worst mistake is that it arrives already two years into the PS3's life. Pick some worms, give them more guns than Megatron's entire army and watch as they unleash comic carnage.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Sony

Developer:

Team 17

Players:

1-4

Online:

2-4

Release:

2009-04-09

Trophies:

14

Review summary

Gameplay:

Addictive, enjoyable, brilliantly balanced combat action

Graphics:

Updated in HD, but still fairly simplistic

Sound:

Fantastic voices and great weapon effects

Lastability:

Endless multiplayer replay incentive

8.6

Supernova

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User comments

MeteorStorm

14:58:29, May 16 2009

Still hearing some superb lines from these manic Worms. For example:

"Hell hath no fury like a well-timed grenade!"

"I'll see ya later in an alley... like a... gaitor!"

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John Marston

It's you, or me. And the way I see it... it might as well be you.