When I was in high school, I was part of a nerdy board gaming group. The group didn’t play much in the way of video games, except for one notable title: Worms. We passed on Mario Kart and Smash Bros., and went straight for the PC, ninja-roping and bazooka-blasting the environment to smithereens. It was an excellent title, both strategic and easy to pick up and play, and the one-worm-at-a-time created a wonderful, nerve-racking tension.
Worms: Ultimate Mayhem brings the series to the HD Console age, bringing back the gameplay from my youth and matching it with both sharp graphics and three dimensional environments. The resulting effort is a game which brings back strategy worm-bashing in a new and fun format. The worm has turned to 3D, and the results are a very solid strategy game in a console market where very few are to be found.
Worms plays just as you remember. Teams of worms cycle through, going one worm at a time, moving about the level and positioning themselves to unleash hell. You turn ends when you finally launch your attack (or if time runs out before you do so). Worms are armed (and yes, your worms have arms… at least when they need them) with a wide variety of offensive weaponry, from the classic baseball bat to more modern items like airstrikes and auto-firing turrets. The goal- to reduce the health of your opponent’s worms to zero. You can do this with your multitudes or weapons, or simply by finding a way to knock your foe into the water at the bottom of every level.
The game provides several single player options, but these are the game’s biggest sin. The AI is inept, positioning its worms poorly, making bad weapon choices, and generally doing a poor job of going for kill shots. There are some unfortunate cutscenes as well. The single player serves as good aiming practice, and really has no legitimate gaming function.
Thankfully, the multiplayer will worm its way into your heart. The game boast both local and online matches of various kinds. I prefer local (much better to taunt your helpless wormy victims in person) but the online is fun as well, and includes match making and ranked play. I found my worms getting killed like, well, worms in the ranked multiplayer, as highly skilled opponents really showed me what my crawly little buddies were capable of. Players darted in and out of the 3-D environs, using cover and skill to blast me into submission. With further experience, I too became a ninja of 3D wormanity. The game, when you’re launching an attack, allows you a first-person (first-worm?) view, making aiming a snap. Past 3D Worms games have had issues with the camera, but my experience here was very positive. I had complete control, and it never seemed to get stuck in the environment. If there were holes, however, my worms could drop into positions where I couldn’t see them, which was a slight annoyance.
Worms: Ultimate Mayhem is everything you’d expect from Worms game. There is drama, intrigue, cute little worms with funny voices and armed to the teeth, and airstrikes reigning down death from above. The weapons are a lot of fun (though, turrets are staggeringly overpowered) and the aesthetics are quite engaging. The unfortunate single player campaign is the one bruise on an otherwise amazingly wormy experience.
- Awesome Multiplayer with matchmaking
- Design your own team of worms (pirates are best- just saying)
- Great camera with few issues in 3D plane
- Single player is a glaring weakness
- Some of the weapons are game-breakingly good
4 / 5
WWorms: Ultimate Mayhem is available on PS3, PC and Xbox 360. This review was done on a PS3 version.