Time passes and things change. Mountains disappear, civilizations rise and fall and what were once pixels with bazookas become three-dimensional pink things with bazookas. They're back, they're in 3D and they've got an exploding sheep with your name on it. Just as with previous Worms games, Worms 3D features several teams of worms with an arsenal of bizarre weapons at their disposal, who fight in a turn-based battle in which the enemy must be drowned, exploded and burnt to death by throwing an assortment of weapons in their general direction. The game has always provoked inordinate amounts of lip-biting, gauging of wind speed and kicking of desks, but how has it fared in its transition to the third dimension?
Think In 3d
If you're a seasoned Worms hack, then initially the extra dimension is a bit worrying, and despite the pick-up-and-play Worms ethos, it takes you a while to figure out how to manoeuvre your warrior over the battlefield. You can see the action from three viewpoints: a spinning mouse-controlled camera, a first-person viewpoint for lobbing/firing your chosen armament and a wider birds-eye view of proceedings for strategic planning and homing missile targeting. It's all fairly simple, but things like the new-fangled control you have over your worm's jumps take some getting used to. And Worms staples like the Ninja Rope suddenly need about eight keys and a basic education in rope-physics before they can be used successfully in swinging from platform to platform.
Compounding this, the third-person camera is liable to throw a few wobblers at you during your game, either presenting you with a close-up of a grassy hillock or schizophrenically swapping angles so that you get confused and accidentally saunter into a nearby landmine. That's the sniffy games-journalist angle done and dusted. The good news is that these problems fade away the more you play and the more adept you become. Multiplayer is as enjoyable as it always has been, allowing for Internet play, LAN games and the traditional huddle-around-the-monitor social interaction for which Worms is famous. Singleplayer, forever the bane of Worms-lovers, is the best that the series has seen.
Whether you're parachuting your invertebrate from the top of a giant beanstalk, storming the Normandy beaches or protecting top-hat wearing worms in their Ewok-type village, the solo missions are invariably novel and entertaining, even though frustration and monitor-bashing are only ever a few heartbeats away. Victory means that maps are unlocked for multiplayer, so it's always worth it in the end.
There's no doubt the extra dimension adds a hell of a lot to the Worms experience. It's hugely satisfying to make vast craters in the destructible terrain, and the tight physics make parachutes and jet-packs a fashionable means of transport for worms-about-town. The whole package is impeccably presented, endlessly customisable and contains music so good you'll be dancing on the rooftops. The switch to 3D isn't seamless, there are several bugs of the nonworm variety, but an old-school charm shines through that can't help but make you smile.
Download Worms 3D
Personally, I'd have rather been playing Scorched Earth. While Acclaim hasn't been known for releasing showstoppers, this update of an old franchise seems a worthwhile party game to occupy a small group of game playing friends. You'll find most of the familiar staples from the Worms series still present, only repackaged in an inconvenient, hard to control form. In all seriousness, the one thing I'd have wished I could do with this game was easily aim and shoot without needing to use the camera controls each time.
Thankfully, especially for someone with my skills, this game comes with a wonderful little tutorial that helps you pickup the skills necessary to blow other people to kingdom come. Although it took some getting used to in the other games, it's downright aggravating in this version, as aiming in a 3D environment from what is essentially a 2D view of that environment can be a difficult thing to learn. However, all in all it wasn't too much of a pain and as much as I protest, watching the little suckers give up the ghost and explode in a ball of murderous fury is too enjoyable to dislike.
Worms 3D has good composition for a franchise transition title, although not of the quality I'd attribute to such instant classics as Ninja Gaiden , Metroid Prime , and The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind-Waker , all of which were superlative examples of how one can keep the gameplay alive and reminiscent of days gone by, but suitably update the game at the same time. It maintains the gameplay, but doesn't keep an amazing grip on your eyeballs, just a good one. Thankfully, the worms are relatively decent trash talkers, so there's that for enjoyment.
Multiplayer, however, is where it's at. Although I didn't have enough people to test this out, using a multitap and passing gameplay, I've heard it's possible to get up to 16 people on a single game, each controlling a worm. With those kinds of numbers, and this kind of destruction, Worms 3D can be a good evening's worth of entertainment. Fans of the old series should be happy, and newcomers will be treated to some good gameplay.