Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 23rd of November, 2017 (EU & NA)
With its Hiatus over, Worms is back on a Nintendo Console since it’s last installment on the Wii and Nintendo gamers can once again revel in the fun and chaos of raining holy hand grenades, concrete donkeys, unleash super sheep once again and can now enjoy it at home on the TV or on the go with Nintendo Switch!
Developed by Team17 and originally created by Andy Davidson, Worms is a series that has roots going back to the Amiga computer when it was first released in 1995. The game was based on Artillery, a 2D strategic shooter game that was actually used to calculate trajectories of various military weapons like tank rounds and missiles. Andy took this inspiration from this program and created his own “game” that originally used Lemmings as the characters but had them changed to Worms when he wanted to commercialize his game.
Since then the Worms Franchise has evolved with each generation of consoles and computers, including better graphics, gameplay, more variety in weapons and even the inclusion of mounted weapons and vehicles, you can also hide inside some buildings! The series has also made the move into 3D and also produced a number of spin-offs including Worms Golf, Worms Blast and Worms Pinball. However, the 2D platform has always been a mainstay for the series and Worms WMD is no exception.
Worms WMD originally came out last year (2016) on PS4, Xbox One & PC and now it has been ported to the Nintendo Switch. It is good to see such strong support for the Nintendo Switch and that plenty of third party companies are willing to bring their games to the system. I loved Worms World Party and Worms Armageddon on the PSX and would play it religiously. It gave me hours of fun with my brother and sister and the animated cut-scenes would have us in tears. So, how does Worms WMD stack up against my pretty high standard fuelled by nostalgia on the 2nd generation Worms Games? Time to find out.
The aim of the game is simple, kill all enemy worms. The earth isn’t big enough for all of us so it is a case of natural selection with unnatural means. You must guide your worms over the hostile terrain that could be littered with hazards like mines and Nitro canisters and take out all the opposing team’s worms using whatever weapons you have in your inventory. The bazooka, shotgun, uzi are all staples of the game with plenty more weapons that pack a serious punch. If you really want to wreak havoc, a well-placed banana bomb can definitely swing the odds to your favour. If you want to divide the terrain making it extremely difficult for your opponent to reach you, a Concrete Donkey can smash through the terrain right down to the drink below.
If you want more weapons that pack some extra punch. You can craft your own by dismantling the ones you currently have in your possession and then using the parts that you get to create new weapons with extra effects. You don’t even have to wait for your turn to craft the weapons as you can do it during the enemy’s turn, you will have to wait a turn though before you can use said weapon and the base weapon you had before will be converted into a more powerful armament.
There is plenty to do in Worms WMD, there are plenty of training levels to help teach you the basics and also the more advanced techniques. A solid campaign of 30 missions, 10 challenges, with an extra 12 extra and bonus missions. The multiplayer mode has plenty of range too, You can choose standard or wireless play depending if you want to play on a single Switch console or multiple. There are local, Ranked, unranked modes depending on whether you want a quick game with friends offline, if you want your increase your rank in the leaderboards, or you just want a play against an unknown.
Once you have chosen what mode you want to play, you will either enter a game hosted by another player or have the option to host your own game. You can customize the match to your own liking, including the terrain you want to play on, whether it is Fort mode, the amount of health for worms, team colour and number of worms per team along with plenty of other options to customize.
Talking of customization, like with all the other games in the Worm series, you can modify or create your own team of Worms and name them however you like. There are several pre-generated teams but if you prefer to personalize your own team, you can. but why stop at names? You can change their voice, what kind of hat you would like them to wear, what gravestone will appear if they die, your preferred fort, and their victory dance. If you would like to play as your preferred team in campaign and in multiplayer, be sure to hit the Set Default button. This will set your team to the default team and you will be able to play with your own Worms instead of the pre-set default team, Teamsters.
As I mentioned before, there is an abundance of choice in hats including berets, Chieftain headdress, Yooka-Laylee character masks, Payday masks and even the Escapists.If you get bored of looking at your Worms sorry mug, you can cover it up with one of many masks, there are even masks sponsoring Goat Simulator. These aren’t the only external additions as a number of weapons that are themed on games like Rocket League and Bro Force have also made their way into the game. Team 17 really wanted to round out This latest instalment of Worms and they have definitely done that.
The graphics have improved a lot over the years, especially in my experience of the game. the cartoony hand drawn style of the environments are really nice to look at and is a shame at times that your weapons will soon turn it into a wasteland but those are the consequences of war. After 5-10 minutes or so do you really have to apply quick second strategic thinking as with each pot hole or crater that is left behind by explosions now become more obstacles to overcome and depending on the timer you have set, 45 seconds for example, may not feel like enough time to react from a seriously damaging setback from your opponent.
The music and sound effects are great, they have always been one of my favourite things about the Worms games and this game is no different. The main Worms theme has been ramped up with a metal touch but the best part is the voices that give the worms such interesting and humourous personalities. One particular Voice is based on Survival expert Bear Grylls. It cracks me up when they start quoting the survivalist by saying things like “When nature bites back, it bites hard,” and “Urgh! It tastes like it looks,” As with all the other Worms games since the day of Armageddon or so, you can change the voices of your worms with one of many available in the speech bank like English Bobby, Magician, Farmer, Rapper or even the Classic. There are a lot to choose from, including accents/languages from around the world like French, German, Polish, Russian or Italian.
Being a turn-based strategy game, each team takes a turn in trying to cause as much harm to the other team as possible. The controls are relatively easy to use but the aiming can feel slow at times though it is not too much of a bad thing if you like to be more precise with your shots. After all, every shot counts and a miss is a missed opportunity that your opponent could recover from. Depending on the mode you are playing, you have a tidy arsenal at your disposal and can do plenty of damage but they are not without their own flaws, projectile weapons can be affected by the wind. Sheeps and Old ladies can double back if they hit a certain obstacle in the terrain. This of course adds to the strategy as you can’t just use your weapons willy nilly, well you can and you may even win a lot of games that way, but sometimes being reserved and waiting for the right opportunity will assure success against tougher opponents.
A welcome addition to the series has to be the use of vehicles. Tanks, Choppers and Mechs are at your disposal and can really add flavour to any match. The Worms Series has always been an innovative one and it actually surprises me that vehicles have only been incorporated now in Worms games in its 21 years of existence. Not everyone will be fans of this new mechanic but I find it great fun raining bullets from the sky in my newly commandeered Chopper or ploughing over landscapes in a tank. There are also mounted weapons scattered on the landscape at times, more so in Fort mode, that you can use to spice things up even more.
I have nothing but good things to say about Worms W.M.D and the maybe the only critique is how the difficulty ramps up to near impossible in the later campaign missions. However, the sense of accomplishment when finally beating them just goes to show you have the skills to wipe the floor with any worm that comes your way in multiplayer.
Worms WMD is a welcome addition to the Nintendo Switch and is bound to be a blast with friends in both docked mode on the TV or in tabletop mode. I have found myself playing it a lot in handheld mode and I have had a really great time doing so. The voices are hilarious, The humour of the game is light and witty. There is never a dull moment to be had, you be pulling your hair out at times when failing to pull off some of the trickier maneuvers like using the Ninja rope to traverse through tricky terrain with nothing but water below or the enemy worms that display skill beyond our comprehension and level you out to a single worm in just one turn. This just adds more depth to the game and shows that it is quite a complex strategy game that can still be enjoyed by all ages. It just goes to show that Team17 still have what it takes to develop incredible games and that tried and tested formulas can still work well today with a bit of spit and polish to bring it up to spec in this modern age.
The Verdict: 9/10
*Review Key Provided By Team17