Like many gamers of a certain age, I remember multiplayer games of the original Worms with great fondness. But since then, I have played some awful Worms games in the name of this website. So I wasn’t exactly expecting much from this budget Wii release. But praise Team 17: it’s not messed up at all!
Worms doesn’t work in 3D, and this isn’t. Good start. From there, it doesn’t deviate much from the established blueprint: it’s your team of worms against other teams, taking it in turns to attempt to blast the heck out of each other with weapons ranging from the standard (missile, grenade), via the unusual (boomerang, dragon ball), to the plain daft (banana bomb, exploding sheep). It worked beautifully 15 years ago, and it’s no different today.
Perhaps the headline addition is Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection – which means online multiplayer. I wasn’t convinced that it would be easy to find a game, but I’m happy to report that the matching worked nicely. There are a lot of modes, so it could be a bit more helpful in telling you where someone is waiting. Once in a game, though, it’s seamless, and a rudimentary chat system is all I wanted. It’s hardly a compelling community, but for playing Worms online it’s more than adequate.
As I said, there are plenty of ways to play – and one of them called forts. That’s worrying, because Worms Forts: Under Siege was one of those awful Worms games. Luckily, it’s not the same – essentially, you and your opposing team are on separate islands.
The solo player has not been neglected, with a load of puzzles and campaign missions to take on. These often involve a restriction – usually on weapons, sometimes on movement – and force you to think in slightly different ways. The campaign mode gives you a brief period for strategic planning – recon the landscape, deploy a sniper – before battle commences. It’s quite nicely done, in a tinkering with the formula sort of way.
All this earns you bits and bobs to customise the game – items to dress your Worms in, blueprints to build new weapons, alternative voice samples, that sort of jazz. It’s moderately diverting.
In fact, it’s all moderately diverting. Team 17 have in the past demonstrated that reinventing Worms leads to disaster, and this is no reinvention – it’s really very familiar, despite the bells and whistles. Is that good enough? It’s certainly not bad.