Published on September 8th, 2016 | by Suros_Six0
Review – Worms W.M.D
Over the years the Worms franchise has gone through multiple phases while sticking to the same mechanics that the series is known for. A big example of this is Team17’s title, Worms 3D, as it took a huge leap from its familiar 2D style and adopted a 3D one instead. The mechanics remained similar to previous Worms titles and it made for a very entertaining experience. While Team17’s newest title, Worms W.M.D, dons its traditional 2D aesthetic it introduces some new mechanics that haven’t been seen before in the Worms series.
Now, if you haven’t played a Worms game before, don’t worry as the tutorial section of Worms W.M.D has you covered! Yes, the tutorial takes you through the ins and outs of this turn-based artillery strategy game with some examples of movement and weapons. Not only that but each tutorial mission tracks your time so players can repeatedly play them to beat previous times. While small, these timers are actually really helpful. This is because turns in Worms are also timed, so the faster you are at executing your movements, the more time you have at your disposal to make decisions. As someone who hasn’t played a Worms game in a while, I decided to use these tutorials to brush up on the basics while taking a peek at some of the new mechanics. These new mechanics stem from the addition of vehicles, buildings, and mounted gun emplacements.
The introduction of all these new features is a seamless one that left me curious as to why they hadn’t been added in previous installments of the series. These new features make movement around the map far more enticing than before as it incentivizes map control. There is now a reason to position your worms in different ways whereas before, there wasn’t really any reason aside from hiding or trying to get a better angle to aim from. For starters, vehicles are a very powerful addition to a player’s arsenal that can turn the tide of a battle quite easily. For example, the helicopter allows a player to fly around the map and rain damage from above as they pass over. This can be very powerful if the enemy hasn’t sheltered their units in a building since it will allow the player to hit multiple units at once. Advantages that the helicopter can provide motivates players to try and get in control of it or position their units in a way that can negate the advantage.
As mentioned before, buildings are also new to the Worms franchise. In previous installments, there would be parts of a map that would be designed to look like some sort of building, but it was really just normal terrain with a different coat of paint. However, buildings in Worms W.M.D are much more than just reskinned terrain. Referring back to my helicopter example, they can provide a tactical advantage by giving units temporary safety. Another thing they could be used for is clever firing angles. Projectiles can fly through the entrances and exits of buildings so a well-aimed missile can sail through a building and hit an enemy on the other side. The last notable thing about buildings is the fact that you can only see the inner layout of a building by having one of your worms inside.
Rounding out the new mechanics is the crafting system. During a match, crates that contain crafting materials will drop on random parts of the map. With these materials, players can craft different weapons or variations of weapons to help them achieve victory. While it’s really cool at first to make a bunch of different variations of weapons and test them, I feel like it’s something that can get old pretty fast while just feeling really unnecessary. Sure it gives someone waiting for their turn something to do, but it just feels tacked on for the sake of being there. I can definitely see it as a mechanic to separate the skilled players from the less experienced ones, but other than that it just doesn’t add much to the game. All it really does is take away from the fun since it seems you have to craft many of the weapons if you want to use them.
Making a return is all the different, silly customization options to make your squad of worms yours. You can name your team and team members, along with assigning one of the game’s many voice packs and outfits to your worms. I’ve created a team of KBMOD staff members while changing the look and sound of them to give them personality. Worms is a game that has a lot of character to it, and with that, it’s known to make a lot of pop culture references. This is something that I’m glad to see hasn’t changed at all in Worms W.M.D. An example of one of these references is the personality I’ve given to the team I’ve created. I chose the “artistic” sound pack because it sounds a lot like Bob Ross and with that selected, I felt it was only fitting to have them sport afros as well. More items to outfit your team can be obtained by leveling up, and this is done just by playing the game whether it be in single player or multiplayer.
The plethora of options doesn’t stop there though, as even that pours over into the game itself. Setting up games provides you with plenty of things to tweak to make sure you get the experience you want. If you’re not a fan of the new vehicles, no big deal, just disable them before starting up a match. Or maybe you want copious amounts of vehicles on your map, you can do that too. Multiplayer isn’t only limited to custom games of course, as there is also an online game browser that allows you to comb through all the unranked matches and select one. If you’re not too big on the specifics, then quick play might be the option for you as it will just drop you into a lobby. There is even an option for anyone who might be a bit more competitive, or that just likes to see their ranking as there is also a ranked 1 vs. 1 mode.
The last noteworthy way to play Worms W.M.D is through the single player. This is where you can find the tutorial I mentioned before along with the campaign and some challenges. Campaign missions are pretty standard, they have one main objective to fulfill and some extra secondary objectives that give more points if you choose to complete them. These points count toward your user level and as mentioned before, when you level up you unlock new things to customize your worms with. The campaign was honestly really lackluster to me as it put you in different situations to avoid monotony, but felt relatively easily and bland. I got bored of it after two or three missions. The challenge missions are locked behind finding some wanted posters in the campaign mode and this is a really unfortunate design choice as the challenge missions seem like they could be the only saving grace for the single player mode.
Worms W.M.D‘s art style is nice and very pleasant to look at and adds just the right amount of detail to maps while making them look very clean. Following this is the game’s great sound design, all the weapons have unique sounds and they all fit the tone this game is going for. As far as performance, the game ran smoothly for me. I was surprised that there wasn’t a borderless window option, but it wasn’t anything that hampered my experience. Overall, it has been a solid game in terms of performance.
I went into Worms W.M.D thinking it was only going to be the standard Worms experience, and boy was I wrong. It’s something that I was glad to be wrong about because the game I played was a very pleasant surprise. Team17 managed to teach an old dog new tricks with their Worms franchise and this made for a fantastic blend of familiar, yet fresh, gameplay. Their seamless implementation of vehicles, buildings, and more really complements the already chaotically fun experience found in traditional Worms titles.
Summary: A fun artillery strategy game that manages to take familiar mechanics and add a new twist to them that really amps up the already chaotic gameplay.