First developed over fifteen years ago (that’s 1995 for those of you who failed basic math!), the hit turn-based strategy game Worms is back. Made by Team 17, that game designing team which never took itself that seriously, Worms Reloaded does away with the gimmicks and variations of previous incarnations (like 3D animations and a weird pinball spin-off) and instead heralds a return to the original game mechanics which sparked a global phenomenon: teams of wise-cracking worms duking it out with a range of increasingly silly and destructive weaponry. Of course, the game has come a long way in those fifteen years, but is Worms Reloaded as much of a classic as its predecessor?
If it ain’t broke...
The basic turn-based mechanics of Worms Reloaded are the same as those of the original. Players take turns against each other or the AI to move their worms around, use items, and fire weapons in order to defeat their enemies. Lots of the classic weapons have stuck around, including the Sheep, Banana Bomb, and - of course - the Holy Hand Grenade, and the worms themselves are sardonic and cowardly as ever. All this is as joyous for new players as old hands at the game, either marking a humor-filled trip down memory lane or a voyage into discovery as players shoot, slap and nuke their friends into squealing oblivion. The game has no storyline, with the single-player campaign consisting of a long series of increasingly complicated training missions, and the premise is arguably pretty basic and can get boring very quickly. However, Team 17’s decision to return to the classic’s strengths is sure to get both fans and new recruits quickly on board.
This isn’t to say that the game is just a rehash of the 1995 classic: lots of new features have been subtly introduced without messing up the simple and highly effective premise of Worms Reloaded. Destructible terrain is usually a gimmick in games, but in a turn-based strategy like Worms Reloaded it means a marked shift in tactics and gameplay, with sneakiness becoming mot de jour over straightforward assault or defence. A whole arsenal of new weapons is also available, including magnets and drills which allow the player to make full use of the landscape and cause some hilarious havoc in the process. There are, of course, more conventional (if that word even has a place here) additions including poison airstrikes, homing missiles and the Super Sheep. Don’t even ask.
Friends and Enemies
Worms Reloaded isn’t the most nuanced or subtle of games, but it does what it’s meant to and does it very well. The game’s greatest strength is multiplayer, both across the Internet, LAN or even on the same PC, and the franchise’s reputation for being a great party game carries through with an array of humorous “breeds” of worms (each with their own personalities and taunts) and trophies for carrying out certain absurd manoeuvres on your friends. You may not play it all that often, but Worms Reloaded is a good investment for those who like to have a fun, silly, explosive time with their mates.