Worms WMD is a breath of fresh air for the Worms franchise, introducing several new gameplay elements that compliment the staple 2D gameplay nicely.
When we got our first in-depth look at Worms WMD, we proclaimed that that the game looked like the best addition to the Worms franchise since Worms Armageddon. Now that we’ve had more time with the full version of Worms WMD, we can set that in stone: this is the Worms game that fans have been waiting for since 1999.
With Worms WMD, Team17 has all but confirmed that the studio’s previous attempts to bring the title to the 3D realm have been put to bed. The series was always at its best in 2D, and recent 3D iterations of the franchise have failed to live up to chaotic hype and enjoyable nature of the earlier titles. This time around, Team17 has struck a fine balance between honoring its 2D past and stepping forward with new ideas, and the end result is a highly enjoyable Worms game with plenty of replayability and no shortage of staple Team17 humor.
To begin with, the addition of turrets and vehicles is one of the most complimentary mechanics that Team17 has ever added to the franchise as a whole, and their tactical impact is significant: tanks are a steadfast and brutal artillery unit, helicopters allow easy traversal of the map, and mechs can brutally punch worms into the water almost as well as the infamous home run bat itself. While there’s no questioning how useful vehicles are, worms piloting the vehicles make larger targets, and take extra damage if the unit explodes. The new feature adds some much-needed variety to the typical Worms combat experience, and although some may feel that vehicles are too powerful, we enjoyed the dynamic they brought to the table.
Likewise, turrets deliver plenty of bang for their buck, but it makes the occupying worm a prime target for any nearby enemies. Those who aim to seek refuge from the turret-filled outside world will enjoy the series’ first 2D foray into building interiors, which block views from the outside but reveal the interior passageways when a player’s worm is close. These provide some much needed shelter, an aspect that was much rarer in games like Worms 2: Armageddon. The inclusion of these choke points adds another layer of strategy onto the Worms experience, and buildings that start with multiple worms from various teams inside them all invariably lead to beautiful chaos.
Worms WMD brings back classic weapons like the Super Sheep and the Concrete Donkey, but takes things a step further with a series-first crafting mechanic that more or less doubles the amount of weapons in the game. The secondary menu feels intuitive with the game’s classic UI, and it won’t take long for gamers to grasp the new crafting mechanic. Each turn, players can collect crafting materials and work towards making one new or upgraded variant of a weapon. Planning ahead for that perfectly-timed use of a powerful weapon adds a new element of long-term strategy to the game, and although most of the upgrades are predictable (most just add flames or poison damage to existing weapons), the new crafting mechanic doesn’t fail to add a breath of fresh air to gameplay.
Team17 has included some brand new weapons as well, like the Dodgy Phone Battery, which chains electrical damage, or the O.M.G. Strike which obliterates a fair section of the map. Those who pre-ordered the game to get the All Stars pack will get plenty of themed unique weapons from other franchises, so fans of games like Payday 2, Team Fortress 2, Yooka-Laylee, and even Rocket League will enjoy a surprising amount of weapon-based tie-ins.
Players can unlock more music styles, outfits, and celebrations for their team simply by playing the game, which makes even a lost match count for something. Team17 has crafted 30 different campaign missions for Worms WMD, and most of them provide a fresh challenge and continuously focus on different aspects of the game. There’s also a few challenges and some creative ‘boss fights’ that players will encounter, which add plenty of variety to the traditional deathmatch gameplay that multiplayer brings to the table.
Worms WMD isn’t perfect – we ran into a few questionable AI worm choices along the way, and the 30 mission campaign does start to feel stale near the end – but the ability to play both online and hotseat with a friend ensures plenty of fun replayability. Fans of humorous Worms voices will also find no shortage of new content here, with voicework ranging from Boss Ross impersonators to Twitch streamers shouting gibberish at every turn. This is classic Team17 production with a fresh coat of paint, and we’re happy with the end result.
It took plenty of time, but Team17 has finally found what new gaming features compliment the 2D landscape, and has dropped the features from previous titles which didn’t. Gone are half-baked water physics and worm classes, replaced by more creative and complimentary features like vehicles, crafting, and building interiors. The three combine as a recipe for pure chaos, resulting in one of the funnest Worm experiences we’ve ever played. Veteran fans and new gamers alike should find plenty of entertainment and endless hours of multiplayer replayability with Worms WMD, which is undoubtedly the best Worms game of the new millennium.
Worms W.M.D. is available now for PC and Mac. Game Rant was provided a Steam code for this review.