Even after all these years it’s impossible not to raise a smile at Worms. Similar turn-based artillery games offer much the same experience and equally adventurous weaponry, but the simple notion that elongated invertebrates are going to war lends the franchise a depth of humour that makes it impossible to dislike.
So the fact that this latest version is very much the Worms you recognise is no bad thing. It has its unique quirks, but the underlying wriggling war is the one you know and love.
A lot of heart
Your small band of worms is chosen from a good selection of different non-arthropods, each with their own style and preferences for armed warfare.
Choosing which team to take into battle is very much down to aesthetics (I find myself drawn to the ones wearing funnels on their heads for no apparent reason), but this kicks off the jovial tone superbly.
Taking it in turn, the worms choose a weapon from their backpack, position themselves as best they can for the forthcoming attack, and then carefully take aim with their armament of choice.
You’re given about 45 seconds to cover the varied terrain and to get your shot off, which is just enough time to maintain the turn-based mechanics while still adding some action and drama to the conflict.
The weapons worms wield
This latest edition of the mobile Worms strain plays very much in the established format, though it does seem to offer more freedom of movement than previous versions have enjoyed. This makes the battles quite personal, as it’s easy to get right up in the enemy’s grille and lamp them in the jaw, which is immensely useful when you’re bereft of ammunition.
The levels are equally recognisable, yet with a new amount of variety that keeps the action ripe and rarely repetitive. Visually, the level designs, animation, and the worms themselves are as detailed and full as any version of Worms needs to be, so for once this doesn’t feel like it’s been streamlined to fit inside a mobile.
The custom game mode is an interesting addition, allowing you to choose your breed of worm, set the level theme and shape of the terrain, and decide whether to take on one or two opponents, with any mixture of AI or pass-to-play humans.
What would really make this new version stand out is some kind of online (it could be asynchronous) or Bluetooth multiplayer, and although it’s not a deal breaker it feels like the sort of thing that would differentiate this game from the previous mobile iterations of Worms.
Ultimately, this is another high-class repackaging of a very familiar game, which is no bad thing, but it lacks the surprises to make this version a classic in its own right.