Worms WMD is, finally, just a Worms game (Xbox One, PC)

What was it?

A hands-on game of Worms WMD.

What did we learn?

— What we’ve always known: Worms is at its best in 2D.

— The randomly-generated maps will include hand-drawn assets.

— You’ll be able to jump into vehicles and control mounted turrets.

— Worms, after all this time, is still fun.

— But it’s still Worms…

How was it?

Anyone with fond memories of Worms will likely hold their nostalgia in the 2D versions of the game. Team17 briefly dabbled with 3D, but never quite managed to replicate the magic. Worms are back on a flat plane with WMD on Xbox One and PC, and while we have tanks, mounted guns and hidden paths, this is still very much like the first Worms game you ever played.

Getting the chance to enjoy a three-player game with the devs was a nice reminder that the classic Worms formula remains fun some 20 years since its inception. It won’t be anyone’s game of the year contender, nor will it light up the marketplace when the game launches in 2016, but again, saying that "Worms is still Worms" is no insult.

WMD introduces some new mechanics, starting with vehicles. When the urban map generated (there was only one type of terrain in the build, though the devs promised more will be in the game at launch), a few tanks spawned at random points. You can jump in these vehicles and unleash a barrage of rockets on an opponent. The way this is balanced is that it’s both tricky for the player in the tank to hit the same spot twice, and the victim is also sent flying after the first shot, meaning they aren’t too overpowered while still remaining advantageous. There’s also mounted turrets, which fire at a rate similar to the uzi, and with the recipient of the bullet falling further back with every shot.

These terrains, it’s worth noting, will now contain hand-drawn assets to add further depth and detail to the map and attempt to avoid repetition. While still randomly-generated, players won’t have to see the same pattern of cheese or brick over and again in every match, according to Team17.

Each structure will also contain hidden pathways, which won’t be visible until you attempt to walk through them, revealing the paths behind the walls. Players will no longer have to burrow through every building with the blowtorch to get across to your next victim. Your opponents also won’t see you inside the structure (unless windows or debris allow you to see directly inside), giving a strategic advantage should you find yourself inside.

Whether or not the game will have enough to keep people interested beyond a couple of matches will depend on whether you have a group of friends you can consistently meet up with online. Launching at a modest price point so a group of pals can pick it up and enjoy throwing sheep at each other from time-to-time could see Worms once again enjoy success. Same Worms, different console.

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