Worms has been around for 15 years, but how well does it translate to the iPhone?
The short answer? Great! But not perfect.
Being someone who has played all the games in the Worms series, including the recent Worms 2: Armageddon on Xbox Live, I am quite the tough critic. I have been waiting in nervous anticipation for Team 17 to release the port, and luckily they have pulled of a very solid Worms experience, that doesn’t hold out on content!
I’m not going to go too far into how to play the game, as hopefully most of you at least vaguely familiar with it, considering it’s been a round for so long. Basically, you have worms on a randomly generated map, and must use awesome and crazy weapons to defeat the other team(s), who are in turn trying to kill you. It’s a very simple concept, but the great artwork and fun weapons really make it a fun experience.
On the iPhone, Worms plays as well as any other version out there. It can take a few games to get used to the control scheme, which has you tapping your worm to jump, touching the right or left of
the screen to move, and aiming by dragging or tapping your finger on or near your targets. You can choose weapons and fire via on screen buttons, and everything feels responsive for the most part. At first, I was having troubles with accidentally performing actions, like jumping forward instead of double jumping, but once I got the hang of things, I wasn’t making any errors, and the experience was quite fun.
Again, this won’t feel comfortable right away, so don’t give up on the game too soon! I was a bit discouraged at first, but once I got the hang of it, I was blasting away the challenge levels at a good pace. I haven’t reached the end of the single player challenge levels quite yet, but there are 50 total, with unlockable items as you go along. There is also an important practice mode, which is vital to get you comfortable with the game.
As you progress in challenge mode, the AI gets very tough, but this isn’t any different than the other versions of the game. You will have to actually make use of things like burrowing into the ground, or putting up metal walls to block opponents or cause them to damage themselves accidentally. I should mention that ninja ropes are pretty much pointless, but the jetpack works surprisingly well. To be honest, I don’t know how you could possibly make the ninja rope work on this device. Maybe tilting to swing?
My biggest disappointment was the complete lack of adhoc, wifi, or online multiplayer. The game has pass and play, and we all know how often we make use of that. (not much) I can’t imagine how a game like worms would be overly difficult to pull off online on the iPhone, since it’s completely turn-based. Granted, Team 17 certainly included a lot of single player challenges, but a game like this really doesn’t reach it’s full potential without being able to play it online against others. Because of this, there also aren’t any leaderboards or anything to challenge you in the long run.
The game has excellent sound, with a nice variety of voices for the worms, music, and other sound effects. The graphics are also on par with the Xbox Live version of the game, with some impressive effects. I would by lying if I didn’t mention that there are certainly moments when the framerate chugs a bit, but it’s not enough to effect the game, as it only happens during certain explosions when the gameplay is out of your hands. Certain particle effects, like fire, were taken out to help out with the framerate, and I didn’t miss it.
I was very pleased to see that Team 17 didn’t pull out the stops as far as weapons and map themes go. There are 6 different level themes, and a great arsenal of weapons. All of the classics, like the super sheep, banana bomb, holy hand grenade, and others are awaiting your deployment. I was highly disappointed at the original Worms game on the Xbox Live, since so much was removed. Luckily, you won’t have to worry about that with the new iPhone version, as it is truly the mobile Worms experience fans have been waiting for.
Presentation & Graphics
Great cartoony visuals, on par with the latest Xbox Live version of the game!
Great music for the various level themes. Good variety of voices for worms with the usual punny quips and jabs. Awesome sound effects for the weapons. Can’t ask for anything else.
It’s classic worms action! The controls work well, but there is definitely a learning curve which will certainly frustrate some. Some framerate slowdowns here and there. The ninja rope is almost impossible to use.
With over 50 challenges, the game will most likely last a while on your own; but worms is a social game! Where’s the online/wifi multiplayer? Pass and play just doesn’t really cut it anymore, although it certainly is there if you want to use it.
Worms was certainly researched and playtested quite a bit, as it controls well once you get used to it. It also takes the best of a the previous gameplay elements and combines them into a surprisingly full single player experience. Unfortunately, it’s just that. Without being able to play online, the game can only hold your attention for so long. But damn if it doesn’t look and sound fantastic, and play just like the best Worms games currently on the market! With an update that includes multiplayer, this game would have me hooked for some time to come.
UPDATE: According to Team 17, there are plans to add online play in a later update to the game. Woot!