by Chris Capel
reviewed on PC
The Worm Has Returned
So, here we are again eh? After dallying round consoles and 3D, the two decade old Worms series returns to computers. I’m not going to say “it’s back where it belongs” because the Commodore Amiga was always the proper birthplace of the series, and this is one of the few strategy games that actually works just as well on joypads. But I’m not here to talk about that, I’m here to talk about the triumphant return of the series to The Almighty PC. Hooray!
The Continuing Saga of Courage, Honour, and Worms
Any version of Worms will always be judged on the basis of the previous release. While there hasn’t been a 2D PC-only version since Worms World Party, like, ages ago (2001), people will still compare it to the pinnacle of the series – the mighty Worms Armageddon. If they do that they might find a few similarities… a lot, in fact.
But that’s not really the point. It has been nine-smegging-years since Worms World Party, and eleven since Armageddon. These games aren’t easily available right now, and certainly not online. Think of Reloaded as an updated Armageddon, with plenty of additions and full 2010-era online support, and you will be far more forgiving.
And that’s just for long-term fans of the franchise, still using their Worms 2 voice editor to make Futurama voice packs (“bite my shiny metal ass” makes a superb replacement insult). The bad news is that there still isn’t a voice editor. The good news is that you won’t care. Mostly.
We are worms, we’re the best, and we’ve come to win the war
The customization options for the game are utterly insane, and it’s fully possible to play online for weeks and meet a completely different team each time. The most amount of fun comes in from browsing the wonderful array of voice types and then making a team to suit them. The Cheese one is my personal favorite, filled with awful cheese puns said in a Wallace & Gromit-esque Yorkshire accent. Wallace, Gromit, Shaun and Feathers will do there.
Hats (Predator helmet!), worm color, dance moves, titles, gravestones… all customization options for your worms alone. I spent over an hour just making teams to play as and fight against. Games can be fully customized too, from the amount of each weapon you get (want only one bazooka round but fifty Air Strikes? You’re crap at this game, but you can do it!) to how many pick-up crates fall.
Excellent, but here I’ve got to bring in my first criticism. It always annoys me when what is essentially a multiplayer game insists that you have to unlock things in single-player before you can use them elsewhere. In this case, some of the best weapons in Worms, including the Holy Hand Grenade, Banana Bomb and Super Sheep, have to be bought in the game’s shop before they can be assigned in a match. And they can only be bought with coins received by playing through the single-player campaign. It also has to be Campaign, you don’t earn coins from the other single-player modes Warzone and Bodycount. If you get stuck on one level you will never see that Concrete Donkey in action until someone uses it on you.
We will stand and never run, stay until it’s done
You now have two options: single-player or local/online multiplayer? Worms of course has always been one of the few games that can get several people huddled round a computer, and thankfully that is still available and great. Online multiplayer seems just as cool, with leaderboards and awards in all sorts of categories. I couldn’t try the online modes as I was playing a pre-release copy, so obviously no one was around, but I suspect Team 17 are experienced enough to keep things stable on the online side.
Customization options are utterly insane
AI is atrocious