I can remember playing the first Worms title many years ago – it looked pretty basic but was different. It was great fun. They never really managed to capture that excitement until Worms Armageddon. A graphical upgrade, a hark back to what made the series fun in the first place with some good additions. Since then, the Worms series has tried lots of different things – even moving to 3D – but that Worms magic has never really been recaptured. Until now.
Worms W.M.D. is a return to the series’ glory. All of the things that make Worms great are here. This is all about an upgrade in warfare whilst retaining some balance to keep it all fair. Players have teams of up to eight worms, position them on the battlefield then commence taking it in turns to kill each other. The format is the same.
It maintains a cutesy style and a wealth of customisation options. Outfits for the Worms are here along with various voices, theme songs and gravestones so you equip a ragbag bunch of killers as you see fit. Some of the better stuff is locked behind the All Stars pack sadly, such as yooka-laylee hats and the masks from Payday.
The theme here is all about battlegrounds and warfare and Worms toys with this serious side that at points feels a bit uncomfortable. The Worms theme is here for example but is muted, almost empathetic. The colours of the environments are no longer bright and vibrant and set in things like cake parlours, instead its war-torn battlefields with pastel shades and battle-ridden skylines. It’s a nice change; it’s a slightly more serious Worms although it is a bit of juxtaposition with things like Concrete Donkeys and Exploding Grannies.
Such crazy weaponry does return and unlike some titles in the series’ history is feels complete yet not too ridiculously overwhelming. There are some new additions here, a ‘bunker bomb’ type projectile that can drill into the ground. On one hand I like this as it offsets some players’ tendency to bury and hide, on the other I quite like to bury and hide sometimes.
There are two very key changes that are new to the series however: vehicles and buildings. Vehicles exist on the map and initially feel very over powered. You can use a rocket car to get around, a tank for massive damage, a mech for massive melee damage or a helicopter from an air assault. I can’t quite decide how I feel about these, on one hand they can be a bit overpowering and take away from the classic Worms feel, on the other they can be utilised as tactical elements – perhaps placing a sentry gun next to one will entice yet surprise another player.
Buildings are also new – far from just being scenery, players can enter buildings and disappear from view (unless another player is inside). At that point you have a tactical advantage potentially. Again, on one hand I kind of like this new element, on the other it can be a bit frustrating as it just gives another opportunity to hide and surprise players. Forgetting a worm exists, as you can’t see it is entirely different to missing one tucked away at the bottom corner precariously next to the sea.
Crafting is also new and players can craft new weapons at any point in the game which helps pass the time between turns – providing you collect the resources from supply drops. It works quite well and helps give you a more personalised feel to your toolset.
Multiplayer is of course the big draw here and works as well offline as it does online. There are single player training missions and campaign but honestly they just serve as extended tutorials for the main event that is playing against real people. All the classic Worms gameplay is here, from judging the wind to get that amazing bazooka shot off, or cunningly ninja rope swinging around the map to fire punch someone into the distance. This sort of thing continues to amaze and be brilliant.
At its core, Worms W.M.D. brings back that feeling of classic Worms with some nice enhancements to freshen the series up. All elements may not be to everyone’s taste but thankfully customisation options are strong. At £19.99 it feels a little bit steep but when you think of the hours of fun available here it isn’t too bad.
Reviewed on PS4