Also available on: N/A
Publisher: Team 17
Developer: Team 17
Genre: Turn-based strategy
Worms proved to be a monster hit when it was first released back in 1995. Made by British developers Team 17, the game combined turn-based strategy with humour, charm and heavy artillery to enormous praise and popularity. Fifteen years and multiple sequels and spinoffs later, the loveable earthworms return once again in Worms Reloaded.
For anybody who hasn't played a Worms title before, the premise is simple. Multiple teams of four worms take turns to battle it out on a 2D playing field, utilising a number of different weapons and power-ups until only one team remains. Each turn is timed and players must look to place their worm in the best position possible so that when their go is over, the worm has done the most damage and is left in as safe a position as the landscape provides. Worms Reloaded doesn't tinker with this formula even slightly, but with its abundance of features, modes and accessible online multiplayer, Reloaded feels like the definitive version of the game.
The most impressive thing about Worms Reloaded is that getting stuck in to any mode is as easy as causing an argument in the Big Brother house. Before the game begins, players must create a profile, which includes naming your team and individual worms, before customising their appearance, voices and surroundings (for the purpose of Fort mode). Unlike titles such as Space Oddity for the Wii, the themes in Reloaded are varied, which affords players a greater opportunity to stamp their personality on to their team. Once a profile has been created, all of the game modes are ready to be tackled; although if you've never played before, the tutorial might be the best place to start.
The game modes are split into three distinct categories: deathmatch, fort and race. The traditional deathmatch is where players will spend most of their time, battling against human or computer controlled opponents on a randomly generated battlefield, or on a customised landscape via the map editor. Computer controlled opposition can be given a personality, which will affect its A.I., resulting in cocky enemies who try the flashiest moves possible, strategic enemies, who will give you a close game, stupid enemies who are, well, stupid, and so on.
Multiplayer variants of the deathmatch include Grenades and Bazookas mode, which limits your weaponry, and Crazy Crates mode, which can result in epic battles thanks to the amount of power-ups and medical supplies on the battlefield. Fort mode is pretty much the same as a normal deathmatch, but the teams begin on their own fort and are separated from the opposition by a stretch of water. Picking a fort is important too, as each fort has its own strengths and weaknesses, e.g. some feature extra hiding places making the worms harder to damage. The aim of the Rope Race is to use the Ninja Rope to make it to the target point in as few moves as possible.
With the exception of the extremely dull and pointless Rope Race, none of the modes stray too far from the traditional deathmatch, and so players looking for any major innovations in Reloaded will be disappointed. There are, however, 14 new weapons on offer, including a couple of defensive options such as the Electromagnet, which repels missiles, and the Sentry Guns, which open fire on enemy worms when they come into sight.The defensive weaponry, however, doesn’t seem to fit in with the ethos of Worms. The turrets, in particular, are a major annoyance if you are next to one and the Electromagnets sometimes encourage players to sit back and skip turns, which spoils the fun. But thanks to the multitude of customisable options in the game, they can be banned from making an appearance. The majority of the other weapons seem like upgrades of old favourites, such as the Buffalos of Lies, which are similar to the exploding sheep, and the Poison Strike - a toxic air strike, which continually damages the enemy. Some of the weapons need to be unlocked from the game's shop, once players have earned money from completing missions in the single player campaign.
Single player itself suffers slightly from Bomberman syndrome in that it really isn't the same as going head to head with human opponents who make mistakes and sometimes surprise you. However, there are a number of different modes to sink your teeth into, none of which, thankfully, try to add a narrative. Campaign mode mixes typical deathmatch warfare with puzzle elements, and, as such, helps novices come to grips with all of the different weapons and utilities that are on offer. One level may see you travel from A to B with the jet pack or Ninja Rope before the timer runs out, while another gives you one weapon and one chance to defeat your opponent without taking any damage.
Sometimes controlling the worms can be a little awkward, because movement and actions are separated by the keyboard and the mouse and so flitting between the two can be hard work, especially if you are rushing or trying to avoid traps and take out enemies against the clock in the campaign mode. The other single player options include a survival mode of sorts, as well as Warfare mode, which is 30 levels of progressively tougher deathmatches. The single player modes, while not as much fun as multiplayer, do a decent job of breaking up the action and helping players hone their skills before another ranked online battle.
Graphically, Worms Reloaded looks as good as you would expect. There is no attempt to add any kind of 3D effects and the game is better for it. It's simple, back to basics stuff, with lots of colours and bright imaginitive backdrops to behold. The sound effects are also very good, with plenty of satisfying and meaty explosion, and lots of different voices, ranging from mildly irritating English accents to laugh out loud funny movie voiceovers. This, along with a simple menu interface, ensures that the game's presentation is top notch and makes the whole package simple to use and enjoyable to view.
There really isn't much to distinguish Reloaded from other Worms games on the market - or the original for that matter. However, despite the lack of originality, it's still Worms, and the sheer ease with which players can jump in and out of the plentiful supply of online and offline game modes makes Reloaded the definitive version of one of the most enjoyable and addictive games on the market. If you already own one of the recent releases, such as Worms 2: Armageddon, then there's no point shelling out for this, but if you've never played Worms, or it's been a while, then Reloaded will leave you hooked without puncturing a grenade-sized hole in your wallet.
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