Worms 4 Review
Few things are constant in the world of gaming, but that there will be at least one new Worms game almost every year is one of them. Team17’s perennial IP has been around for as long as I’ve been playing games and a new Worms game is always a welcome sight. With its unique blend of mayhem, crazy weapons and cartoony graphics, Worms is fun in a silly way that is lacking in many games today. While the turn based strategy games are not necessarily always the best looking or playing games, their zaniness was always a welcome distraction from the seriousness of other games.
One of the most distinctive parts of a Worms games is its cartoony art style, and that is certainly evident in Worms 4. With clean, crisp lines, heaps of colour and exaggerated shapes Worms 4 brings exactly what I expect to see in a Worms game. Worms 4 is certainly a nice looking game. With a wide variety of environments, weapons and worm customisation items, Worms 4 isn’t boring to look at. Also evident in Worms 4 is the wonderful quips and one liners that are let out by the worms as your play the game. Whether it’s announcing that their turn has come, requesting that you pick them or calling out after being hit the voice overs in Worms 4 bring a charm to the characters that makes them memorable and fun, despite them amounting to cannon fodder at many times. Musically, Worms 4 has a very laid back and chill soundtrack. Tracks are largely light and breezy, which can be at odds with the nature of the action occurring, but fits with the whimsy and light-heartedness of the franchise in general.
Worms has long been known for its large battlefields, filled with worms of varying factions as they duke it out for supremacy. One facet of Worms 4 that is both disappointing and understandable is that the maps are smaller and hold less worms that seen in the franchises larger game. While this lends well to the mobile platform, meaning that levels take a shorter time to complete and are perfect for quicks burst of play, the game does lose some of the manic fun and action that is a trademark of the series. Conversely, the small battlefields also mean that you need to be more aware of your position than ever, as enemy worms are generally close by and are quickly able to take you out if you’re not careful.
Smaller missions that are quicker to finish could lead to issues with the game’s length, but thankfully Worms 4 has a large number of single player levels for your play through. Starting with simple tutorial levels meant to teach you how to play, the game gradually ramps up the difficulty until you’re killing with manic-abandon. Levels comes with both objectives and terrain modifiers. Sometimes you are tasked with killing every worm on screen or just one specific worm, sometimes terrain is destructible and sometimes it isn’t. This leads to a fair amount of variety is each level. On top of the single player levels, there is also a multiplayer mode that pits your team of worms against other players. Played as a real time multiplayer match, instead of the asynchronous mode in Worms 3. The switch to a real time match feels like a step backwards compared to the turn based nature of past mobile entries in the franchise, as the style is a perfect match for mobile platforms. Despite this, the multiplayer mode is fun to play, however its not quite as friendly to people with small amounts of time.
At the end of each level you are given a score and a star rating to show how well you’ve done. Your star rating dictates the possible rewards that you can gain after each level. As you complete levels, you spin a wheel that will award you a bronze, silver or gold chest. These chests award worms cash, which can be used to purchase more chests, weapon upgrades, speech banks, outfits and tombstones. If you feel that it’s taking too long to unlock upgrades or items, you can also purchase worms cash through in-app purchases to quickly open more chests.
Mobile games largely live or die by their controls. No matter how good a game may look, without an intuitive control scheme it can all be for nothing and this is one place where Worms 4 falters. Everything is controlled by virtual buttons that appear on your touchscreen and allow no customisation. The virtual d-pad leads to issues where you can suddenly find yourself going in the wrong direction or while trying to aim a weapon, you start moving instead of aiming up and down. Some customisation options would have been lovely, especially an option to swap to a virtual analog stick or to space the d-pad out a bit.
Worms 4 isn’t the best Worms games I’ve played, but it’s a solid entry into the franchise and is definitely worth picking up for your mobile device. Nothing quite matches the feeling of sitting on the bus and blowing up worms as people begin to stare and wonder what you’re laughing at.