Over the years since its inception, the Worms series has seen its share of ups and downs. After a weak attempt at bringing the franchise to the third dimension during the 32-bit generation, Team-17 realized our spineless but extremely courageous friends deserved better, bringing them back to glorious 2D. And with Worms W.M.D, they’re at the best they’ve been in quite a while.
W.M.D doesn’t reinvent the series in any way, and in many ways that’s for the best, because Worms has always been quite a multiplayer turn-based strategy game since the very beginning. Instead, Team-17 focused on piling on addition content alongside the established online mode, adding a lot of single player missions and challenges as well as a pretty decent experience system tied to the customization options which are plenty (voice taunts, visuals, tombstones, the works), allowing the creation of unique teams formed by the lovable worms.
So with much of the original gameplay back, there had to be something to set this game apart from the previous games. There’s an excellent redesign of the worms and the implementation of beautiful backdrops for all the carnage, which is as cute and charming as it’s always been. Everything also sounds as full of personality as every game in the franchise over the years, crisp and clear.
In terms of weapons and items, the fan favorite exploding sheep and jetpack are as useful and fun to use as they’ve always been. Luckily, they’re also pretty easy to put in play. For weapons and thrown items, you have to account for fall as you set your aim, as it’s always been since the very beginning, but given the elaborate design in some of the maps, things are a little trickier this time around, an extra wrinkle to all the chaos.
But for as much as a fan or newcomers can enjoy playing against the computer — and trust me, the new levels and challenges are fine and dandy — the real deal is playing online, which thankfully works pretty well as long as you can find someone to match up against. Playing Worms W.M.D online on the PlayStation 4 using the dual shock controller is easy enough to learn, too, even if the ultimate precision device is still by far the mouse, especially after years and years of playing Worms on the PC. Then again, it’s also totally practical to play the game locally with a friend with the added benefit of not needing an extra controller since the game is turn-based.
All in all, Worms W.M.D is an incredibly safe bet for Team-17. Considering the sea of online multiplayer online games in a variety of visual and gameplay styles, it’s reassuring to see that it’s still very much possible to just sit back and relax with the old comfort food that is Worms. W.M.D isn’t a revolution to the franchise, and frankly, it doesn’t need to be. It’s the epitome of the old saying: there’s no point in messing with a winning team.