Worms is a franchise that I hold quite dear, as it reminds me of my childhood playing Worms Armageddon on the N64 with my friends. Passing around the controller as we each took turns at trying to blow each other to smithereens, mostly with Holy Hand Grenades. And although I’ve drifted away from the multiplayer shenanigans, the campaign in Armageddon was also something I very much loved. Worms W.M.D also has a campaign, and while I’ve only had a small smattering of a taste of it, I’m looking forward to the ridiculous weaponry and the scenarios I’ll end up using them in.
Just a handful of training and campaign missions are included in the preview build and it’s already quite comprehensively shown me the ropes (metaphorically and actually teaching me to use ninja ropes again). Movement and basic actions haven’t really changed in all those years since I played Armageddon, and in fairness I did play a little bit of some of the more recent escapades on PC, so other than blowing myself up accidentally as I drop off my rope rather than drop a Super Banana Bomb (more on that in a bit), all the controls are learnt and easy to get used to, even with the new toys.
W.M.D. WMD. Weapons. Of. Mass. Destruction. Yep, we all know that refers to nukes and the like but Worms has many, far more amusing takes. Plus, you can use all these super weapons without the threat of Nuclear Winter, which can only be seen as an added bonus. Anyway, Super Banana Bombs, Holy Mine Grenades, Eco Jet Packs and many, many more, are weapons that have been augmented to be more powerful or different from the standard variation in some way – e.g. Super Banana Bombs can be detonated on your command, meaning you get a controlled but still somewhat sporadic spread of destruction.
These superweapons are made via the crafting menu which allows you to dismantle weapons and craft weapons as you see fit, though you can only make weapons if you have the correct components, which you only get from dismantling or picking up resource crates. To make sure you aren’t powering yourself up too much, it will only make your new toy available on your next turn; but you can also craft in your opponent’s turns, which is a brilliant way to diffuse the somewhat boring time spent waiting for the AI or “Thinkers”.
Having played all the available tutorials and campaign missions meant I also got to grips with the other new features; emplacements and vehicles. In this version there are a few types of emplacement and two vehicles. The emplacements let you unleash a positively destructive force which usually shoots multiple times, such as the mortar or machine gun. However impressive they are, they still put you in a stationary position and don’t offer any cover.
Vehicles however, halve the damage on most weapons (at the very least tanks do), meaning you can beef yourself up by squatting inside one, though you can just get kicked out of one if someone else occupies it, which is a clever way to stop people rushing them (also they explode if they take too much damage). The tank can fire up to three sets of two round bursts, which can be stopped either intentionally or the usual accidentally damaging yourself. Helicopters are the slightly more interesting of the pair, as you rain death with a machine gun for a fairly long period of time, peppering the landscape below with bullets.
All of the new stuff is great but somehow my favourite thing is actually buildings. Buildings are just part of the levels’ landscapes no more. Now they can hide things within which can only be seen by other occupiers…or you could also level the structure. Hiding both crates and Worms alike, it adds a sense of mystery that isn’t usually seen in a Worms game, as now enemies are concealed along with their health, exact location and number. It adds the unknown quantity which – funnily enough – is a more frightening thought than the WMDs game is based around (in game only, real WMDs are pretty frightening). Hiding worms in difficult to reach places has always been a long standing strategy, but the option of making them completely concealed and possibly in any number of hidden locations is quite an interesting new addition.
This preview build gives me a lot of hope for the campaign, and I’m sure multiplayer will be great too. I love the new additions and the emphasis on player choice that crafting system gives. No longer will I pick up a crate hoping for a Holy Hand Grenade and get a kamikaze instead. I’ve recorded a few short levels and tutorials so you can see some of the new stuff in action. And if anyone asks, that level against the AI, I intended to lose, just to show off some of the new stuff.