Everyone’s favourite worms with a penchant for war have been around for a long while. Indeed, the original game in this long-running cult classic series released way back in 1995. Plenty has changed over the years for our bazooka-wielding lumbricidae, but one thing has remained the same over all this time. A perfectly aimed bazooka shot is just as satisfying now, as it was in 2017.
Worms W.M.D represents the latest installment of this beloved turn-based tactical shooter and with it we are given several key upgrades over predecessors. In terms of weapon physics and damage, W.M.D is something of a direct follow-up to fan-favourite Worms Armageddon. Essentially, this means your grenade will carry the same weight and bounce as it did in Armageddon. If you’ve played games in the series since then, the physics will take some getting used to, but this is a big part of the fun when it comes to the series. Learning how to balance the power of your shot against the wind and distance between worms is great fun and can prove the key against lesser-acquainted foes.
Indeed, Worms, as a series, is a multiplayer game first, singleplayer offering second. W.M.D is no different. There are plenty of missions to get on with by yourself, but throughout, these act more as tutorials that teach you the benefits of individual weapons – so you’re ready to take your developed skills onto the battlefields online and locally. As far as the PS4 goes, Worms W.M.D acts as one of, if not, the best local multiplayer games. Everyone will spend ages creating their team of eight worms, with fully customisable names, a choice of hats, graves, dances, voices and victory music. It will take you a while to create your team, but once everybody does, you’ll have a blast, erm, blasting all the enemy worms on-screen.
Customisation has long been a feature of the Worms series and it’s an area that, sadly, W.M.D is lacking on consoles. Sure, you can craft weapons with ingredients you find in crates and you can edit your team with a few more options than you had available to you in previous entries of the series, but there is a key feature missing and some odd limitations. You cannot design your own stages on the PS4 version of W.M.D and I have no idea why this is. Every other Worms title I’ve played has let you make your own stages, so why this one doesn’t let you is beyond me. There is a level editor on the PC version of the game, but if you plump for the PS4 or Xbox One edition, you’ll be left disappointed.
Generally speaking, too, there appears to be fewer options for stage designs in the game, which lets you set parameters for what kind of stage you want. The main changes include whether you want it open, or with caverns, large, small or medium or what visual design you’d like it to have. I’d have liked a couple more visual designs included. Why you can’t unlock The Escapists design is another very strange mistake from Team 17. Since the game launched in 2016, they have added a Forts mode into the game, but again, the console version is laughably limited compared to its fully customisable PC brother. It’s a crying shame that the PS4 version is so limited, as it is wonderfully smooth to play and looks outstanding on a large TV screen.
Wherever you play it, you’ll love the painterly look to W.M.D, which borrows heavily from the Rayman Origins school of design. It looks brilliant and runs buttery smooth no matter the size of the level, or the amount of worms on-screen. For such an optimised console game, it’s sad that Team 17 left key features out. There are strange decisions on all editions of the game, however, with weapon choice a sticking point in my household. I don’t know why they got rid of the Kamikaze attack, or the Drill as both could prove exceedingly useful. Besides those two, however, W.M.D features tonnes of weird and wonderful weapons. Along with your Sheep and Super Sheep, you have the Sheep on a Rope, for example.
As mentioned above, you can craft (and dismantle) weapons during your turn (and the enemy’s online). What this equates to is building on the base weapons available. Take the bazooka, for example. You can craft a stronger one, or a bazooka pie, which leaves a fiery aftertaste on the map. Crafting can breathe new life into classic weapons. Weapon crafting adds a brilliant new dynamic to a series that’s over twenty years old. So to, do the various turrets and vehicles on the map. Each turret and vehicle can be destroyed, but more importantly, they can all be piloted. You see the hilarious Dubstep Gun on the map? Get in that bad boy, pronto. The Mech, Helicopter and Rocket League Car (among others) are all great fun and add tonnes of new strategies to the game. There’s a lot of fun to be had with the crafting, turrets and vehicles.
There’s a lot to love about Worms W.M.D. After several years of trial-and-error with new gameplay additions that didn’t work all too well, the Worms you know and love is back. W.M.D feels like a classic Worms title through and through, but the additions of weapon crafting, vehicles and turrets all breathe new life into this old school series. The modern, glorious graphics are always a joy and the worms themselves remain as funny as ever. I just wish I could create my own stages and forts on the PS4 version. For a game that adds a fair amount of new polish and features, it can feel oddly limiting in its customisation offerings.
Worms W.M.D is the most fun you’ll have with local multiplayer on PS4, but it lacks the customisation options of its PC brother.