As a longtime fan of the Worms series, I can honestly say that I am shocked by the sheer number of games Team 17 has put out. Worms WMD marks the twenty-third entry in the Worms franchise, and still manages to improve upon the existing formula while adding new content. After a while it seems that innovating and adding new features would seem difficult, but much like a yearly sports series (only better because it involves worms wielding heavy artillery), Worms improves its graphics, brings a host of hand-drawn, destructible maps, adds new weapons previously unseen in the series, and new functionality with crafting and vehicles.
For those who are new to the Worms series, gameplay focuses on two (or more) teams of worms, armed to the teeth with various forms of modern/ridiculous weaponry, fighting to the death. A player controls a team of worms in turn-based combat, trying to eliminate the enemy team. It’s a simple gameplay formula, but permit the old expression; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Worms WMD does very little to shake up its core turn-based combat mechanic, and that’s totally fine. It still works well and provides hours of great fun playing solo or coop.
Worms WMD does not really possess a campaign (it’s really just a series of challenge missions), but fans of the series won’t be expecting anything of the sort. These missions are broken up occasionally by some hilarious animated cut scenes advertising various forms of weaponry with flashy logos and discount signs, but there’s no story beyond “Hey, you worms, blow up those other worms because you have to win.” It’s perfect for the type of game Worms WMD tries to be, and allows players to cut to the core gameplay of killing costumed invertebrates with heavy weaponry.
It’s the variety of weaponry that really helps Worms WMD shine, and gives it pretty limitless replayability. From hand grenades, to exploding sheep, all of the fan favorites are here, with the addition of brand new weapons to the series and several souped up versions of old weapons (dubbed WMDs). The new WMDs are last resort weapons that often take out half (if not all) of the map, and kill worms with extreme prejudice. One such weapon is just called “wormageddon” and it lays down fireballs over the entire map until every worm (on both teams) is dead. These weapons are ridiculous, and obviously overpowered, but add another layer of fun to the classic formula. The addition of vehicles and stationary turrets also brings a new layer of strategy.
Worms WMD is at its best when played in multiplayer mode. The ability to compete against friends locally or online is a smooth experience, and is really one of the core components of the game. Gameplay mechanics are simple enough to understand, and make it easy for newer players to pick-up-and-play. While I was playing on PC, I found that the gamepad controls were much more intuitive and easy to use. The keyboard controls are still functional, but I would highly recommend playing on a gamepad. Without it, controlling some of the games “precision” weapons can be finicky. This is because when playing on mouse/keyboard, Worms WMD makes you aim with the up and down arrows rather than using the mouse which controls camera panning. When using the keys to aim, I often felt like the trajectory indicator would move too far, making small aiming adjustments difficult. This can be fixed by adjusting custom settings, but it’s much easier to jump in and play on a controller.
You will also have a high degree of customization over their team of worms. You’ll unlock a variety of customizable options ranging from skins to lude victory poses for their team. The pre-order bonus of Worms: All Stars also adds an immense amount of content to the customization options in the form of skins themed after other games, new weapons, and even a Rocket League vehicle. The weapons and vehicles change gameplay, but none of them feel overpowered, and if anything, just add to the overall variety of the game.
Worms WMD improves on its predecessors with classic turn-based mechanics, new weapons, beautiful maps, and plenty of humorous invertebrate destruction. All of the silly humor is there and the mechanics are still solid. It also allows for local multiplayer, which is somewhat of a rarity in today’s gaming landscape. The game packs plenty of content to be worth its $30 price tag, and is sure to make fans of the series happy.