After 21 years and 20+ games in the Worms series, developer Team17 is back with the upcoming Worms W.M.D. What the "W.M.D." actually stands for is up for debate, but when it's worms killing worms in all variety of ways, I think you're allowed to make up whatever you please for those letters. I personally preferred one of their titles, the "Weapons of Mechanized Destruction," but then again I'm a sucker for tanks and mechs.
Meant to bring back memories of classic Worms titles, Team17 went back and rebuilt this game using a classic approach. The game is all 2D and built to simulate older Worms games in overall physics, weapons, and more, but with the added twist of new gameplay mechanics thrown in for good measure. That means things like the beloved ninja rope make a return, while a slew of new aspects are also present. Fans of the series will certainly be right at home with this new Worms.
Two game changers introduced in this new Worms title include vehicles and a crafting system. The vehicles introduced include the helicopter, tank, and a mech, all of which are capable of turning a losing game around very quickly. Each operate much the same as the worms themselves, using the A and D keys to move and the W and S keys for aiming purposes. These mechanized units of terror are capable of stomping, flying around, or simply destroying the battlefield as you attempt to massacre the enemy worms. I found the helicopter to be perhaps the most devastating (I managed to kill six or seven worms in a single turn with it), but the mech is one of the coolest with its slam attack. The only downside with the mech is attempting to control its hover ability with the keyboard, which doesn't immediately make sense. However, since the game does offer gamepad support on the PC (and obviously on consoles), I'm sure it's more straightforward.
The crafting system was another surprisingly great twist. Throughout missions, there are sometimes crates scattered about. These can be collected to gain crafting materials, though if you're in a pinch you're also able to deconstruct any weapons you currently have. These can then be used to craft those surefire winners, such as the sheep or any of its varying levels (Super Sheep, anyone?). Crafting takes a turn to complete and crafting will end your worm's turn, but you can also craft on the enemy's turn which will immediately provide the weapon on your next turn. That is assuming you don't lose in that time span. Being able to throw a flaming concrete donkey at your opponents is definitely worth taking the time to gather crafting materials.
Much like the other games in the series, it's possible to create and customize your team of worms. New items and customization options become available as you level your profile up, which is done by completing both main and secondary objectives on missions. These missions and objectives vary, so don't expect the same experience every level. Another neat aspect are the bonus levels, available after finding the associated "wanted posters" throughout the main levels. These bonus levels are challenging in a way I did not expect, and I'll admit I'm still attempting to complete the two I unlocked. Imagine no weapons, minimal life, and what essentially amounts to a puzzle in order to complete them.
Perhaps one of the more zany aspects of the game are the sheer number of "guest stars" Team17 was able to pull in. Games ranging from Unturned to the upcoming Yooka-Laylee all have an appearance in Worms, either as character masks, weapons, or more. It's quite interesting to see The Escapists in their 8-bit glory go up against the team in PAYDAY 2 using the dubstep gun made famous in Saints Row, but damn does it add a level of goofiness and hilarity to an already witty game. Currently these additions are only available to anyone who preorders the game, but it will more than likely be available post release as downloadable content.
Overall, Worms W.M.D. continues to deliver a solid Worms experience. I'll admit I haven't been able to play every game in the series, but the ones I have were enjoyable. This one follows that tradition and is a solid entry into the franchise and one I expect fans to enjoy. It combines elements of classic Worms with enough new twists to make the game incredibly fun. While I was unfortunately unable to play online multiplayer (I spent 30 minutes waiting and it is before the official release), that will add another level of replay value, including ranked matches.
Note: The Worms W.M.D. review is based on a digital PC copy of the game, provided by the publisher.