The Worms series has always been one of the high points for developer Team 17. The simple premise of getting an army of overly British worms to use insane weapons to try and beat each other in a drastic game war is fun enough. While they’re not a massive franchise in the gaming industry, it’s familiar enough to still be going on to this day.
This brings us to the newest game in the series: Worms W.M.D. This game came out last year for other platforms, but has finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch for the modest price of $29.99. With that in mind, is it worth your money? Or is it a simple misfire?
The Worms series has been all over the place and, in a lot of ways, Worms W.M.D. is a glorious return to form. From the moment you start using Bazookas and shotguns to take down your opponents, there’s a very classic feel to the game. Each worm on the battlefield will spout witty dialogue as you go about each mission, and it’ll either make you chuckle or cringe.
Worms W.M.D. is strictly a 2D game with simplistic graphics and animation. I have to say that when Worms is constructed in this perspective, it’s at its best. Being able to zoom out, make crazy shots across the warzone, and place your worms in the right spot is no small feat, and it’s quite enjoyable.
What makes the game such a thrill to play at times is just how many options you have available to you. Each battle feels like an actual war where every decision counts. Do you have one worm make a mad dash to the machine gun and become a big target while the others duck for cover? Maybe you’d rather go for an all-out assault and risk the lives of your troops. It all depends on what’s available to you, what map you’re on, and how accurate you are with each weapon. It takes no small amount of skill or strategy to complete everything Worms W.M.D. has to offer.
Adding to this slew of options is the ability to take a turn to craft consumable weapons that can easily turn the tide in battle. There are Bunker Busters which can easily get rid of an enemy who’s hiding underground and the Armageddon which lays waste to nearly everything on screen at once. In this right, each battle is like a puzzle that you must solve. However, the many options the game offers allows you to solve it in your own way.
Because this game is a port to the Nintendo Switch, there is one big addition here: HD Rumble. Worms W.M.D. is up there with Super Mario Odyssey in terms of how well the HD Rumble works. When you’re in Choppers, Tanks, or Mechs, you feel the engines roaring as you move yourself across the map. Other than that, this version is nearly identical to the others.
Worms W.M.D. has a lot of levels for you to play, and that’s both a great and a bad thing. From the get-go, you have access to all sorts of training missions, campaign scenarios, challenges, and bonus stages to go through. The issue here is that you won’t get through all of them if you don’t fully like how the game plays. Every mode or mission is essentially a tiny variation on the Worms formula. You just have to get rid of all the bad guys. I would’ve liked to see a little more creativity in this department but, to be fair, there are quite a bit of levels to go through.
Enhancing this issue of repetition is how the Worms themselves control. You and your foes will each take turns moving and attacking with one worm. That’s fine, but the worms aren’t fun to control. They’re incredibly slow, they have some of the wonkiest jumping ever put in a video game, and the aiming is wacked out too. You aim and move with the same control stick, so it takes some precise movements to get that cursor where you want it to go.
All in all, these issues make the game feel much longer than it actually is. I was dreading losing a stage not because of my competitive nature but because I didn’t want to have to restart it. There was also the problem of fairly long load times which made it a chore to sit through the game sometimes.
As you might imagine, where Worms W.M.D. really excels is in its multiplayer. Up to six players can be on a battlefield at a time, and that’s where things start to get intense. When you’re negotiating a treaty with your friends while still trying to learn how to get on top, you really start to feel the pure energy that comes from playing a Worms game.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a group of friends to mess around with, and playing online doesn’t have the same impact to it. Bottom line- if you have friends and you like Worms, this game is a no-brainer. Team 17 also went the extra mile by having a lot of references, props, and masks from other popular games as well as other entries in the Worms franchise.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review copy of Worms W.M.D. was provided by Team 17 for this review.