Worms W.M.D PS4 Review
Publisher: Team17 Developer: Team17 Genre: Strategy, Action
Players: 1-6 Age Rating: 12+ Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One
Worms is a series that has had its ups and downs for many people, but it’s also a series that is still going strong. Worms W.M.D is the series going full circle, stripping back some of the additions that have been made to the series in recent years such as classes, and giving us a more pure Worms game, but that’s not to say that features of great significance haven’t been added.
With its return to simpler times, Worms W.M.D is actually a game that attempts to capture the spirit of the likes of Worms Armageddon, and this can also be seen with the visuals. The game no longer makes use of 2.5d visuals, which means that the eponymous worms are no longer 3D models, nor are the backgrounds. The flat look gives the game a classic Worms feel that has been absent in recent entries in the series, although it’s nice to see that everything in the game is hand-drawn and, while there’s nothing amazing going on here and there’s bouts of slowdown from time to time, the visuals are really quite delightful and shining with character and charm.
Worms W.M.D retains the famous cartoon violence and explosive turn-based gameplay that the series is well known for, and this time around it is even more explosive thanks to the inclusion of vehicles. Vehicles include tanks, helicopters and even mechs, and they can definitely give you the upper hand if you are able to get one of your worms inside of one. The helicopter allows you to freely fly around during your turn as well as to fire off a barrage of machine gun fire but the trade-off is that it has rather weak armour, the tank is able to fire off six canon shots each turn, it can jump, and has impressive armour, and the mech is able to jump and hover and has a strong melee attack that can send worms flying high. Getting control of a vehicle gives the worm inside extra protection and allows you to travel across large distances a lot faster, but it doesn’t mean that it’s yours for keeps; enemy worms are able to steal vehicles from you if they are able to get into range, which means that putting them to good use during your turn is vital. It’s surprising that adding vehicles to the series has taken so long, but I’m delighted to say that Team17 has implemented them expertly, and they never feel as if they are a spare part that shouldn’t be there.
Mounted weapons have also been added, which includes machine guns, flamethrowers, sniper rifles, and mortars. Getting your worms placed on to these can also give you the upper hand during battle, but long-time fans needn’t worry as the game also retains many of the classic weapons and tools. There’s a huge arsenal of weaponry and tools, including favourites such as the bazooka, the classic ninja rope, the jetpack, the Concrete Donkey, the explosive Holy Hand Grenade, the Super Sheep, the Banana Bomb, and many more. New weapons include the likes of the Dodgy Phone Battery which satisfyingly allows you to chain electricity through enemy worms and other objects, and the O.M.G Strike, which fires off a very gratifying and destructive laser.
Speaking of weapons and tools, Worms W.M.D is the first game in the series to feature crafting. The crafting options work in a simple manner, allowing you to craft using ingredients you find in crates in the environments or dismantling weapons that are already in your arsenal in order to gain materials to craft new weapons. Whenever you craft, you’ll have to wait until the next turn for your weapon or tool to be ready, which is a smart decision on Team17’s part, as it assures that the game remains balanced at all times. You can craft during your own turn, although it’s also possible to do so during your opponent’s turn, and it’s during the moments that you would normally be sitting around and watching that is the most sensible time to concoct something that may prove to be of great use to you. You are able to craft many different weapons and tools, and it’s even possible to craft typical weapons but with added twists, which means that there’s plenty of room for experimentation. All in all, crafting is an intelligent addition, and it adds in some extra strategy, and it’s such a wonderful inclusion that it would feel wrong to play a future Worms game without it now.
Another way that the game adds in some extra strategy is with the added enterable buildings. When inside buildings, just as long as your opponent isn’t inside with you, they won’t know where you are situated. The interior remains hidden to everyone but those inside of it, which opens up extra gameplay opportunities. If you are playing in local mutiplayer, your opponents will obviously be able to see where you are at the end of your turn though, so this means that buildings are a feature of greater strategic importance during online multiplayer sessions, as you can’t hide from other players as effectively during the local multiplayer battles. Well, I guess there’s always the option to turn away from the screen, and whatever the case, buildings do still provide extra cover for your wormy soldiers.
When it comes to options, Worms W.M.D has a pleasing amount. The single player campaign mode features 30 missions, with a main task to aim for, as well as three optional objectives in each one. There’s also wanted posters to find in these missions which unlocks challenge levels and, if you are unfamiliar with the series or just want to get to grips with the new features, there’s an excellent tutorial as well as training missions. There’s also unlockable customisation options for your worms, which includes hats, as well as voices, gravestones and victory dances.
Going up against the AI is once again a mixed bag, with some having skill and luck that will have you shaking your fist at the screen, while others having moments of stupidity and hilarity that results in them basically committing suicide and sailing into the sea. As entertaining as battling the AI can be, the Worms series has always been at its best in multiplayer, and Worms W.M.D is no exception to this rule. There’s support for local and online multiplayer for up to six players, and options are once again highly customisable, with the potential to tweak almost absolutely anything.
Worm’s W.M.D is one of the best games in the series yet, and to be able to say this about a series that has been around since 1995 says a lot about the talented folk at Team17. Smart decisions such as vehicles, enterable buildings, crafting and mounted weapons as well as the typical explosive, satisfying and amusing gameplay makes for a Worms game that deserves a lofty recommendation that is as high as one of the game’s flying worms after being struck with the series’ famous baseball bat. With its classic gameplay and sensible additions, Worms W.M.D is a triumphant example of a job well done.