If one worm ever does dangerously venture outside of their little soil homes, they’ll either get trodden on or — even worse — become a subject of fascination of a curious toddler. But when equipped with weapons: grenades, bazookas, air strikes, shotguns, you name it, it becomes a whole other story.
Worms Special Edition is like Tanks — the internet game — on steroids. You play as a team of determined worms. Armed to the worm gums, you need to apprehend the opposing team with everything you have, taking turns in making your hopefully devastating attacks.
The game’s art style and presentation overall is certainly one of its strong points. Worms Special Edition looks and sounds great with a cartoony, loveable look that prevents shotgunning a fellow worm seem gruesome, just funny. The worm’s voices are hilarious. You can choose a voice for your team from a massive selection (scientist, pensioner, bad rapper) and the worms then comment about events in gameplay with appropriate accents, slang and tone. The level environments are vibrant and well designed. I personally liked the fort designs. They do look wonderful — that’s until you take chunks out of them with your bombs.
The worms aren’t just armed with a basic assortment of weaponry. Oh no. There’s exploding sheep, dragon balls and punk buster missiles. These weapons offer strategic options to players who have an eye for inventive and destructive ways to kill worms. But you won’t start off with all the weapons, you have to earn them. Completing battles successfully will earn you money which then can be used to buy weapons, maps and grave stones. Even then, coming across truly powerful tools is a treat and quite rare in the normal game mode.
One of the most challenging things for a developer when developing a single player experience is making its AI (artificial Intelligence) as close to human behaviour as possible, especially in such a luck/skill based game such as Worms Special Edition. In this case, it misses the mark in some areas. When playing a custom game, there are 3 game difficulties: Easy, Hard and Very Hard. Notice something? There’s no medium difficulty and this reflects negatively on the gameplay. AI opponents go from being ridiculously stupid (firing a bazooka at a wall in front of them) to unreasonably hard (impossible rebounds, ridiculous precision and unreal chain reactions). You can almost see the computer work through the algorithms, looking for the best possible scenario. The result is either being sickly patronised or at a crazy disadvantage. The only real way to get a fair game is to play with an AI teammate but even then you still feel like a 6 year old playing in an under-11s football match. This fact isn’t helped by the fact that the game does not include online multiplayer (only local).
The campaign is definitely a slower learning curve (and seemingly more fair AI) and a recommendation for new players. There are also more strategical puzzle levels in both of the campaigns which places you with limited weapons and a difficult target. These levels normally act as a lesson as to how to use more extravagant weapons. Much like the online game, Tanks, Worms Special Edition features a great Pass To Play feature where if you have a few of your friends round, you can each have a team and then you can take it in turns to play as them.
If I’m honest, I don’t normally go for turn-based games. I feel they are restrictive and frustrating… most of the time. Worm Special Edition is one of the few examples where turn-based gameplay works. Wrapped in this adorably funny art style and presentation, it’s a whole load of fun. But it would be even more fun if it included a great online multiplayer feature. That — coupled with the unrealistic AI — makes Worms just off perfect.
Pros: Brilliant presentation, good variety of weapons and maps, a lot of content.
Cons: No online multiplayer, unrealistic AI on custom games.
Advised Control Method: All
Publisher: Team17 Software
Price: $9.99 (£9.99)
Description: A Fun and Quirky Turn-Based Arena Style Game