Worms Reloaded Review for PC

Worms Reloaded Review for PC

Volatile Invertebrates

For a franchise that’s lasted a decade and a half, Worms is based on a stunningly simple premise. Two teams of cute, tiny worms attack each other with high-tech weaponry. You control one worm at a time in turn-based battles.

Worms Reloaded screenshot

The series’ developer, Team17, didn’t change much for the latest entry, Worms Reloaded. As Team17 freely admits, the game is basically “an extended edition of the console versions of late;” in particular, it draws from the recent Xbox Live Arcade title Worms 2: Armageddon, which itself was a loose remake of a much older game (Worms: Armageddon). There are quite a few updates, but aside from a level creator, most of them are of the minor variety, including a couple non-essential game modes, better graphics, some additional weapons, new hats for the worms to wear, etc.

For longtime fans, there’s not enough new material here to warrant a separate purchase, and those who can’t stand turn-based battle games won’t find anything here to change their opinion. Open-minded newcomers, by contrast, will discover Worms Reloaded to be an immensely enjoyable introduction to some rowdy creatures who love duking it out with missile launchers and shotguns. Even though the improvements over past versions are minor, they are improvements, making this the definitive edition of Worms.

Whether you’re playing against the computer A.I. or up to three human opponents, the basic setup is the same. You control four different worms, and you alternate turns with your foe. Each turn, you get to control one of your worms briefly, running and jumping around in a two-dimensional level. Depending on the level you’re playing, you might have a variety of tools at your disposal, ranging from a jetpack (which is invaluable when you need to move great distances before attacking) to about forty-five weapons including dynamite, fire, and grenades. You can kill enemy worms by eliminating all their health (at which point they commit suicide in dramatic fashion, leaving behind a gravestone) or by simply knocking them into the water (these worms can’t swim). Meanwhile, you can end your turn prematurely by falling too far after a jump, by slipping into the water yourself, or by carrying out an attack. Once you attack, the timer drops down to just a few seconds, and you have to rush to move your worm into a safer position before your enemy’s turn arrives.

Worms Reloaded screenshot

Like most turn-based games, Worms Reloaded doesn’t give a sense of nonstop action or suspense. It does, however, require you to think ahead as you decide which enemy worms to attack, in what order to attack them, which weapons to use, and how to position your worms so that they don’t get blown to pieces or shoved into water during the enemy’s turn. The ingenious level design, which forces players to confront difficult jumps over water, blow through destructible land to reach their enemies, and work their way into hard-to-reach areas, only adds to the challenge this title offers the more strategic gamer.

Worms Reloaded offers an amazing variety of game modes. Beginner, Standard, and Pro are difficulty levels for the standard game (team deathmatch, basically). In Bazookas and Grenades, the only weapons available are (surprise!) bazookas and grenades. In Forts, the two teams are in their own forts, separated by a body of water, and thus have to focus on long-range attacks. In Rope Racing, you control worms as they swing from rope to rope, Tarzan-style. In Crazy Crates, the goal is to swing from ropes and collect the crates that are distributed throughout the level.

Worms Reloaded screenshot

Those who play alone can choose a “quick match,” and in a single click be in the middle of a game, or they can choose a “custom match” and take advantage of the game’s customization options. There’s also a campaign, in which you complete thirty-five stages (a combination of battles and other challenges) that get ever harder and occur on increasingly complex battlegrounds. After that, you can tackle the tougher Warzone campaign, which brings the total number of stages to sixty-five. The single-player game also has a unique mode, Body Count, in which you play as a single worm, fighting off teams of enemies until you die.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to test out the online multiplayer, seeing as we played before the game was released, but given that it’s turn-based, we’re not anticipating any problems. Multiplayer gamers can compete locally as well, and they too get a full range of customization options.

Worms Reloaded screenshot

Speaking of customization options, wow. When you build your team, you can not only name each worm, but also adjust his appearance and even change the dialect in which he speaks. You can spend the currency you earn to unlock new options. When you set up a match, you can customize virtually everything there is about the level you’re fighting on, from the basic appearance to the number of mines. There’s a random level generator so that you never have to fight the same battle twice. There’s even a level-design tool that works well, and you can share your creations with friends. Many players will prefer to stick to quick matches, given how overwhelming all these options are, but true Worms fanatics will go crazy over all the different ways there are to play.

The default controls here aren’t great; for one thing, they rely too much on buttons, instead of the mouse, for aiming. Even the simple act of walking (using the arrow keys) feels awkward, especially to those who are used to the more natural feel of a console controller for basic character movement. Nonetheless, because the game is turn-based and the worms move almost painfully slowly, the clumsy setup rarely costs players anything except a few seconds off the clock, and besides, the game is compatible with a pad if you have one. The only quirk we found truly maddening is if you hold down the jump button, you automatically jump a second time when you hit the ground.

Worms Reloaded won’t bowl anyone over for its technical accomplishment, but its simple 2-D graphics are charming, and they’re CPU-friendly enough that most modern computers can handle them. The sound, meanwhile, is terrific, from the countless ways the worms have of speaking to the music and sound effects.

Again, for all but the most obsessed longtime fans, there isn’t enough new here to warrant a fresh purchase. However, anyone looking for the best possible Worms experience will find it here, and lapsed fans who haven’t played since the late 㣾s just might rekindle their interest in the franchise.

They’re simple, two-dimensional, and charming. 3.9 Control
There are lots of options, but the default scheme is a little clunky. 4.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The worms speak in countless dialects, the music works well, and the sound effects fit the game’s vibe. 4.0 Play Value
This is a great deal at $20, but only if you don’t already own one of the other recent Worms games. 4.1 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Worms Reloaded comes with extensive single-player content including sixty-five missions, training, and the new Body Count mode.
  • Destroy your friends with up to four-player online and local multiplayer.
  • Fight to be king of the hill on the leaderboards.
  • Experience massively increased customization, including a landscape-creation tool.
  • Enjoy a wide selection of weapons and game modes.

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