As far as I'm concerned, Worms is a requisite game at every LAN party. It isn't even a LAN party unless you play a round of Worms. Turn it into a drinking game, make the loser go pick up some pizzas, or any number of crazy alternatives. In this regard, if you're throwing a LAN party, you need to purchase Worms: Reloaded. It is everything you remember from Worms 2: Armageddon, only with a refreshing new gloss. All of that classic ninja roping, explosive sheeping, drop some dynamite and jet pack to safety action is back.
Okay, with all of that said, outside of a LAN party you're not going to have much use for Worms: Reloaded. Certainly, it's easy to pick up and play a round or two, but Reloaded is still that same, slow paced, outdated clumsy game you remember it to be. Worms: Reloaded is the Halloween Candy Corn you remember loving, up until you finish that first handful. After that, you're left feeling queasy and a little bit ashamed.
Worms: Reloaded is a game that's both terrible and incredible in the same breadth. Read on for my full review, where I break down the positives and negatives of the latest 2D Worms offering from Team17.
Let's start with the bottom of the barrel: the single player. Combat in Worms boils down to a series of turns, where on each turn you have the opportunity of moving your Worm around the map, selecting something appropriate from a wide variety of weapons, and firing a single time (twice with a shotgun).
If anything, Worms: Reloaded does a great job of turning the same bland combat into a variety of bland game modes. You've got your standard 30 mission campaign, your custom matches, a survival style Body Count mode and Warzone, which is a deathmatch campaign. So beyond the Training mode and a scant few Campaign missions that require you to jump, rope and jetpack across the map, you have an incredible selection of deathmatches to play.
I want to say that each mode's small differences were enough to keep me intrigued and asking for more, but that is a lie. After making headway into the main campaign and then making an effort to try the other modes, I'd had enough. The combat, at its base level, is enjoyable of course, but you're still just killing simple AI controlled worms over, and over, and over. Each new match feels like it will never end, a veritable black hole of fun.
Luckily there is another aspect of Worms that's much more enjoyable and you can do all on your own: customization. My favorite part of Worms, up until I was able to play multiplayer, was designing my own four-worm team. I was able to choose their little hats (classy top hats), their names (gaming buddies), their gravestones (angel worms), and their ridiculous voice files (L33T, OMG EPICZ). I literally spent more time customizing my team and HUD than I did enjoying Worms' single player modes.
Luckily, there's the other side of Worms: Reloaded that's much more entertaining, the multiplayer. It was only a few weeks ago when I played a few rounds of Worms: Armageddon with some friends during a small LAN party. It prepared me for the experience of multiplayer in Worms: Reloaded. By that I mean, I stopped getting angry at myself for dropping grenades at my own feet, or when opposing players would perform miracle ninja rope swings and drop dynamite on my face.
Of course, it works the other way too. There's nothing more enjoyable than seeing another poor Worms player make a mis-jump and launch themselves into the ocean, drowning instantly. The struggles of mastering each weapon, and seeing that you aren't the only one with troubles, gives Worms: Reloaded's multiplayer a ton of charm.
Certainly, the basic gameplay hasn't changed; Worms is still slow, touchy and punishing, but the ability to share your woes or laugh off each error with other human players makes the pacing feel instantly faster.
For example, I joined a two team match with a friend of mine, and joined him on voice chat so we could create a battle plan. As the game progressed I consistently killed my own worms while my friend took on the majority of the enemy's forces. It was impossible not to laugh at our contrasting skill levels. Then, as the game timer ran low and sudden death began, I took my last worm and hid him as high on the map as possible. The sudden death waters slowly rose and I watched every other worm drown from my sniper's perch. I had won the game!
If there is a disappointing aspect in the multiplayer, it's that the game types are limited to four-player deathmatches. Then again, that was my complaint in the single player as well.
If I can talk my fellows into making the purchase, I'm sure Worms: Reloaded will be a welcome addition to our future LAN parties.
Of course, there's other various additions to Worms: Reloaded, like a relatively intuitive map maker and the multiple features included through Steamworks integration. It's really beginning to feel like they've done as much as they can with the existing Worms archetype, without implementing a full on competitive matchmaking system.
There's also been improvements in the graphical quality of the game, though most player likely won't care so much. The worms are still just simple 2D sprites, but they all have high quality resolution and excellent coloring. Even with all of the graphical upgrades, you can assume that Worms: Reloaded will run on a PC with fairly low specifications.
With regards to any extraneous problems I might have had, I didn't have any hard crashes or UI complaints beyond one fairly big detail. Worms: Reloaded does not have a windowed mode. I can't help but wonder if this contributed to my disappointment in the game's single player, because I was forced to focus on the game at hand rather than being able to multitask while playing. Alt+Tabbing is slow and sometimes requires a bit of a wait before the game catches back up to speed. It's a feature that should have been in the game, and Team17 dropped the ball on it.
And there you have it, if you've played a Worms game before you know exactly what to expect from Worms: Reloaded. If you haven't had the pleasure, know that Worms is but a simple, quirky game that is wholly meant for multiplayer. Any semblance of single player you might find is, while challenging, not worth the time spent. If you're looking for a quick game to play with some friends on a Thursday afternoon, this might be your game.
Worms: Reloaded is, much like previous games in the series, a LAN party must-have. Otherwise, you're better off looking for something, well, anything really.
You can pick up Worms: Reloaded on Steam for your PC right now for $19.99, but I'd recommend trying out the demo first.