The Worms franchise, for those of you who are unaware, has been around for quite a while. It's seen releases throughout the years on PC, and console platforms alike. For the most part the Worms games have stuck to their pseudo-platforming trajectory turn based combat roots in a 2D presentation, but on a couple of occasions Team17 also dared to bring the games into the 3D realm. The past Worms games I have personally reviewed (which have been of both types) have all received recommendations from me for the wacky humor included, the party-like atmosphere that each installment provides, and attractive features that are in essence attractive. The Worms games are always tons of fun whether you choose to take advantage of the offline, or online modes of play. In this latest installment titled, "Worms W.M.D." nothing really changes in those regards other than some system streamlining, new worm weaponry, and some new features that add to the core values the game's developer has stuck faithfully to. I think that's a good thing.
In "Worms W.M.D." the series, or rather franchise returns boldly with a new animated look, and a completely user friendly interface. New to the Worms formula is a fleshed out Tutorial mode located within the singleplayer main menu listing. With the tutorial new Worms players can learn the basics of the base platforming mechanics as well as the ins, and outs of specific weapon usage in a competitive leaderboard environment where their fastest times earn them ranked standings and medals (Pass, Silver, Bronze) which in turn translate into earned XP for unlocking unlockables. The tutorials are broken up into several basic, and pro level objectives set on the usual Worms environments. Each of which are timed events where you can merely pass the test, or achieve a gold medal along with a world rank listing, and pop-up player to player comparison in an accompanying level info panel. Not only does the new tutorial get you familiar with old Worms mechanics, but it also introduces some new weapons of mass destruction including the mech, and the tank.
The Worms funtastic formula doesn't end there. Along with a tutorial singleplayer also brings with it a healthy helping of other modes. You can play through the campaign, and it's many themed player versus CPU battles, or you can take on challenges in the challenge menu where completed objective listings earn you XP which will rank you up, and earn you new unlockable customization items. The challenges in particular have a boss target or a Worm with a historical, or standout identity (Uncle Sam ...), and a mirrored hidden Wanted poster that you can find as you battle worm to worm on the war torn battlefields. Of course you'll be using weapons that you gain from crates, and boxes as you traverse the oddly arranged landscapes. This battle of which I speak is indeed turn based meaning that one of your worm troopers takes a shot, and then the opposing team's worm has their turn on an individual worm by worm basis. Strategy is definitely important, and keeping your team of worms alive while annihilating the other team of worms is the most important goal of all.
Aside from the base modes of singleplayer play you will find that Team17 also added in a "Recipe" sub-section where you can put your MacGuyvering skills to the test by mixing collected materials, and base weapons to form new wacky weapons of mass destruction. Things like the Angry Red Donkey, and the Sheep-On-A-Rope are but a couple of examples of what you can craft offline, and use within the game. While that's a lot to enjoy in the way of singleplayer content, multiplayer also harbors a hefty helping of options meant for getting you online with buddies or random acquaintances. There are options for both ranked, and unranked play including matchmaking options that are both private, and public. You can also tweak multiplayer menu settings to your liking ultimately creating the perfect Worms experience to cater to your gaming wants and needs. As with offline your rank will increase the more you play, and win. The leaderboards which hold your online standings are point based, and only display ranked standings for all you braggarts out there.
With all these options available what could possibly top such greatness? The answer is "Customisation". In the latest Worms installment your customization options are beefier than ever. There are new hats (Tacos, Bobby, Afros ...), gravestones (Cryo-Worm, Future ...), sound banks (Russian, French, Spanish ...), Victory Dances (Air Guitar ...), and even musical fanfares (UK Anthem, US Anthem ...). You can also name your team of Worm troopers as you see fit, and even create a team name fitting of your courageous cephalopods. Unlike earlier installments of Worms these newly animated worms also bring with them a more cartoonish representation that actually makes the game pop.
For those of you looking to keep up to date on the latest Worms W.M.D. news there's also a main menu listing for that. It shows that Team17 is interested, once again in the Worms longevity, and that they don't want to let this installment of the franchise slip under the radar.
The Verdict ...
I am once again in love with what Team17 has done with the Worms franchise. While it's more akin to traditional Worms games it is new in it's own right, and brings with it some noteworthy changes. Along with those changes comes an easier control setup, streamlined easy to access menus, and plentiful content that is both offline, and online centered. I also forgot to mention that the developer has introduced a new terrain feature which uses towered buildings as places to hide in from the sight of opposing players. Not only does it have all that going for it, but it's also got tremendous replay value in both the local, and online multiplayer. Did I forget to mention that? Yes, there is an option for local multiplayer should you wish to enjoy a couch session with your buddies.
I highly suggest you not pass up on this game. It's tons of fun, and worth the asking price. I do think that there's a retail version, and the PSN Store version available as well.