A favourite film of mine when growing up was Tremors. Starring Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, it concerned a sleepy Nevada town being attacked by a bunch of giant subterranean worms.
It had a distinct B-movie whiff about it, but it was pacey and humorous enough, and sufficiently action-packed to distract you from its lack of substance.
Death Worm could be described in the same way, not least because of the similarity of the titular underground monster. The key twist here, though, is that you’re controlling the terrifying beast rather than running away from it.The worm that turned on the world
Viewed side-on with an equal split between the overground world and wormie’s underground layer, you burrow through the ground, nipping up to the surface to chow on humans and animals.
If that sounds a bit like Super Mega Worm, that’s because it is. The influence isn’t in the direction you might think though – Super Mega Worm cribs from the Flash version of which Death Worm is a direct conversion.
This is the superior game, with creature-munching gameplay that's an absolute riot for the first hour or two.
A virtual analogue stick enables you to swoop around and line up graceful leaps out of the ground, like a dolphin grabbing a piece of fish. This allows you to take out low-flying aircraft - even not-so-low-flying aircraft, once you pick up the Nitro power-up - and army gunships that inevitably show up as your rampage escalates.
Tying the destruction together are two well-integrated scoring systems, the first of which rewards you for taking out multiple targets in a single pass. The other is a series of micro-challenges that are set for each level, such as taking out a certain number of enemies within a set period of time or without taking damage.
While this remains compelling for a while, by the time you unlock the third and final jungle-themed level, your attention will be flagging. While numerous fresh and fun features are added throughout the first desert-themed world such as rocks that can be whacked into targets, these ideas dry up in the subsequent rounds. The final stage feels like a tired re-skin as a result.
There are Game Center achievements and a reasonably playable get-as-far-as-you-can mini-game to extend the replay value. It’s just a shame that the main game runs out of steam so quickly.
Still, for a brief period, Death Worm offers a compelling iPhone experiences. That it can’t sustain that appeal shouldn’t detract too much from the gleeful destruction it allows you to unleash.