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Review: Worms HD
Symbian^3 has Worms. No jokes please, I mean the perennial video game! Yes, Worms has been around since 1995, allowing gamers to partake in the pleasure of parabolic persecution. That’s right, it’s not just the Angry Birds who have been exploiting ballistic bombardment for our entertainment! Read on to see how well the slithering scrimmage plays out on Symbian^3!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have memories of loading up the original Worms game from a DOS prompt on a 486 PC. Ever since, Worms has been released on multiple platforms, with multiple sequels. Worms HD is a port of the original Worms game, written for the touch screen toting, graphics accelerated, Symbian^3 handsets.
The idea of Worms is deceptively simple. You control one of several teams of worms, living on a surreal landscape, who have a highly unlikely arsenal of weapons. With the single objective of wiping out the other teams!
The skill in Worms is based around aiming your attacks. Most weapons are either launched (e.g. the bazooka) or thrown (e.g grenades). Aiming a shot will be familiar to fans of Angry Birds in that an angle and power level need to be set. In Worms HD, this works by rotating a cross hair around your current worm to control the launch angle. The power is controlled by holding down the fire button.
However, Worms has the added complication of wind. Not flatulence, but cross winds, which can can help and hinder you. Firing into the wind allows you to curl a missile’s trajectory such that it’ll hit a worm that you couldn’t otherwise hit - if you play smart.
The range of weapons in Worms is frankly … ridiculous. There are the relatively ordinary bazookas, shotguns and machine guns. The weaponry scale escalates to air strikes and homing missiles. However, we do truly go from the sublime to the ridiculous with the likes of booby trapped sheep and the “holy hand grenade”. There is also the lesser-seen pile driving mule statue - a spectacle which my mind is still reeling from!
When it comes to gameplay, there are four single player modes. “Quick Game” is a straightforward 'best of three' match against the AI teams. In "Practice" mode none of the enemy worms will fight back, allowing you to experiment with controlling the game and learning tricks. Beyond these simple modes there are the “Body Count” and “Challenge” modes.
“Body Count” mode gives you a single worm with an endless supply of enemy worms to defeat. In this mode you get 200 health points while the enemies only have 10 to 20 health points, but it’s still quite a challenge. Speaking of challenges, “Challenge” mode pits your team against several other teams of worms. In this mode, the AI gradually improves with each successive round.
With the scale of the playing area, a lot of zooming in and out is needed. Despite this though, the clarity of the characters and scenery remains. The only graphical issue is that sometimes worms can become bunched up, which makes it hard to see exactly what’s going on. This is to be expected, given that Worms HD is only two dimensional.
The sounds in the game are hilarious, with each worm uttering little comments about events as they unfold. I can’t always understand what they’re saying, but still, I can’t help but laugh as I play the game. There are text hints in the game that further audio clips can be unlocked by attaining achievements. However, there’s no sort of achievements log, so this is rather tricky to verify!
Humour is what Worms is all about, and it’s just as well. While there are text hints at the top of the screen, I did find the game confusing to get to grips with. The general user interface and range of weapons could have been better explained. In fact, if I could ask for one change in Worms HD, it would be for a tutorial mode to be added along side the practice mode.
There is a multi-player mode in Worms HD. Just like its older incarnations, the idea is to take turns on the same device. You can add numerous teams that are either human or AI controlled. In fact, this system is flexible enough to accommodate no human players. That allows you to sit back and watch the game play itself. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t an option for playing via Bluetooth though.