Once upon a time, my social life revolved around worms. Yes, I still keep in touch with the friends I made at the Dodgy Bum Diseases Clinic.
Only kidding. We didn't really talk in the waiting room.
No, in my university days, the fact that I had a PC and a copy of the original Worms game meant that most nights, my hall of residence room was full of drunk students trying to blow each other up with banana bombs. In the days when multiplayer gaming meant huddling round a single machine, Worms was genius.
Judging by the success of THQ Wireless' mobile versions of the game, there are plenty of people like me with fond memories of the game. Worms 2007 is an all-new version that's bigger and better than its predecessors, providing a tooled-up treat whether you're a Worms veteran or new to the series.
Assuming you're the latter, the basic idea is to command a team of up to four worms, and to take turns trying to blow the bejaysus out of one or more enemy teams. The game is played across 2D landscapes, and in its PC and console versions involves a huge array of different weaponry, from standard guns and bombs through to exceptionally silly super-weapons. More of them later.
Previous mobile Worms games have been fun to play, but were only ever really cut-down versions of the original. However, Worms 2007 rectifies that, with bags of weapons and a huge amount of depth by the standards of mobile games.
In Single-player mode, you can play a quick match, work your way through the introductory Training missions, and take on 12 Solo missions or 20 Deathmatch missions.
Meanwhile, there's also a pass-the-handset Multiplayer mode, where you can deathmatch against up to three mates, or take on specific Challenges (for example, seeing who can get from one side of a level to the other fastest using a jetpack or grappling hook). Like we said, there's loads to it.
Then there's those weapons. You've got all the basic wormy armoury – shotguns, mines, dynamite and grenades. You've also got the aforementioned jetpack and grappling hooks to get around levels, along with teleports. And then there's the silly stuff, including banana bombs, holy hand grenades, Ming vases and a whole lot more besides.
The controls are simple, allowing you to walk left and right, jump up or along, and use the '5' key to trigger weapons, whether it's aiming a bazooka, directing an airstrike, or leaving some fizzing dynamite on an enemy's head before legging it (in a manner of speaking) to safety.
The fun comes from trying out the various weapons to see how they work and (hopefully) master their intricacies. Crates can be nabbed to get new weapons, and a nifty camera-pan function lets you scope out levels to plot your strategy.
Graphics-wise, there's not much THQ Wireless can do to improve Worms, as it's a 2D game through and through on mobile. However, the publisher has tarted up the backgrounds, with whizzy 3D scenery if your handset's fairly powerful.
Worms 2007 is an ace update of a much-loved classic, and arguably the first mobile Worms game that'll truly excite people who fell for it the first time round on PC. An extra good touch is the ability to name your team of worms, and also to tweak the settings defining how many weapons you start with, and how crates appear.
Our one real quibble is over the speed of it – moving your worms can be a bit sluggish, like they're wading through treacle. It may be biologically accurate, but we'd have preferred the game to be a bit faster. Still, that aside, this is marvellous.