Worms W.M.D Switch Review
Worms W.M.D came to other platforms earlier this year and now arrives on Nintendo Switch as an eShop release. Team17’s series was incredibly memorable in the 90s which saw three successive classics in Worms, Worms 2 and Armageddon. Since then the series has stagnated and struggled to recapture the special formula that made the early titles so popular. Good news – Worms W.M.D is a return to form.
Create your team of wigglers – I always make Pokémon and Mushroom Kingdom ones – send them out to a randomly generated battlefield, and take it in turn with other players to strategically destroy each other. There’s some learning curve to be able to effectively traverse the level, choose a weapon and use it within the time limit. If you’re a newcomer it is well worth doing the training first to avoid self-inflicted embarrassment on the battlefield. But to be honest even hapless efforts are highly amusing and part of the fun.
A key addition are the vehicles – tank, helicopter, mech and drillboat. These are straight-forward to use, visually impressive and help make the game more fun for newcomers, allowing them to inflict damage without knowing the weapon list in-depth. There is the further addition of mounted guns, such as machine gun and laser sight which function very well.
Previous all buildings were just really part of the destructible terrain, this has seen a big update in that you can now enter buildings – and destroy them as usual. Your team also gets its own fort building depending on the mode. This enhancement is a natural progression towards more realistic physics and adds another strategic dimension.
The core gameplay mechanics are still superb – for example after the match time runs out the sea starts rising, forcing everyone to higher ground. This helps force the more risk averse tunnelling players out into the open eventually. There is plenty of customisation in option and weapon sets. Whilst this is a good thing, even as an experienced player I would prefer stronger guidance towards a recommended default weapons scheme to use to enjoy all of the weapons the game has to offer in a balanced way without worrying which scheme is best or most fun unless I want to get into customisation.
Crafting has made its way into various genres in the last year or two and now it has come to Worms. This allows you to get some interesting variants on weapons, such as the electric sheep. This adds further depth and the chance for some rarer experiences is welcome. This is a level of complexity that is probably going to mean crafting is overlooked in the average multiplayer game, but it is something for the more dedicated players to invest their time into utilising.
One negative is that as with some other Switch games, there is no way to play someone on your friend list online. You will have to make do with strangers, or just play friends in person. This is disappointing and I would have liked to see Team17 come up with a solution to this, but they are not alone in seemingly waiting for Nintendo to provide a proper platform-level solution to friend-on-friend online multiplayer. Surely we’ll see progress on that front in 2018, but I had to factor this into the overall score.
There is a good selection of offline missions and training which award you bronze, silver and gold badges depending on performance. These can be time-trialled and you can get hooked easily – I loved trying to better my time on the ninja rope challenge and got to #5 on the world scoreboard. I can vouch for the ninja rope physics being true to the ninja rope in Worms 2 and Armageddon.
The All-Stars special edition content from other platforms is included as standard on Switch, a nice bonus and includes customisations from other games such as Yooka-Laylee, Rock League and The Escapists. The Switch edition is also the first to get the new Space theme.
Worms W.M.D‘s successful outing marks the series’ long overdue return to relevance. The detailed 2D graphics look great, run very smoothly and the new mechanics all slot in seamlessly alongside the 90s core of the game. This is now the definitive edition of Worms to buy – there is a lot to enjoy it’s one of the best in-person social multiplayer games available.