Game Reviews

Worms HD

Star onStar onStar onStar halfStar off
| Worms HD
Worms HD
| Worms HD

When Worms, the brilliant turn-based party strategy game, first wriggled onto the scene, I was 11 years old. It absorbed far more of my hours than most of the other games on our venerable old DOS-based 486 computer.

My 11-year-old self would be unsurprised to hear that he'd still be playing Worms in 16 years time, though he might be a bit perplexed to hear that it would be on mobile phone.

Salt of the earth

If you’ve somehow missed the Worms phenomenon in the last decade and a half, here’s what you get for your money: you control a squad of heavily armed worms, on a randomly generated landscape.

Taking turns with the other players (AI or pass-the-handset), you have to wipe out all the other worms on the map before they get you.

Carefully navigating the scenery, you then have to get your aim right, taking wind direction and angles into account. As time goes on, your arsenal of weapons - ranging from bazookas and shotguns to exploding sheep - will tear the original landscape apart, creating new obstacles like death-dealing plunges off the screen.

A worm to the wise

The previous mobile versions have been pretty good given the limitations involved, and the title picked up a Pocket Gamer Bronze award on both Android and iPhone.

One of the reasons it never quite hit the Silver Award or higher was due to teething difficulties of the controls, and the Xperia Play fixes these without breaking a sweat.

The worms now move with the D-pad, you can look around with the right touchpad, and jumping, shooting, and weapon selection are done with the buttons. From now on, an accidental death is firmly your fault, and the game is all the better for it.

The presentation is still top notch, although it does make you strain your eyes a little. Unfortunately, unlike Worms 2 on the iPhone, the first Worms outing for Xperia Play misses out on online multiplayer, preventing this from being the ultimate mobile version.

What’s more, there are three versions of the game in the UK Android Market, priced between 68p and £1.83.

None of them supports the Xperia Play, for which you have to go through the Xperia Play store and pay €5 instead - an inexplicable rip-off which robs this version of the Pocket Gamer Silver Award.

All the same, if you have an Xperia Play, Worms is a classic that you should definitely own. It’s brilliantly presented and genuinely improves the game by disposing of the touchscreen.

Worms HD

The best-controlling mobile Worms game to date, but lacking the online multiplayer of the iPhone sequel and inexplicably more expensive than the other Market versions