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Saturday, 28 December 2013

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Worms 2: Armageddon Review


Guest Post by Khurram Liaqat
from the BallGum Blog





Introduction

The old and respected series Worms has finally jumped to Android and iOS after the many releases of the series on consoles. Worm's 2 Armageddon is a 2D, turn-based game, where the player is given the task of manoeuvring Worms that are armed to the teeth with weaponry, in order to outsmart and destroy the opposing team, also consisting of Worms. Worms is well known for it's hilarious dialogue, as well as the strength of it's sandbox. It's the type of game someone plays repeatedly till perfecting the art of tossing a grenade into the most minute and distant crevices.

Overview

Jumping straight into a match is very quick and simple; a couple of short loading screens and you're good to go. The games also comes with a Campaign mode, as well as Multiplayer; in both hotseat and online flavours. Navigating through the menus is easy, and everything is presented cleanly, with the familiar Worms cartoony aesthetic.

Gameplay

The core gameplay consists of taking turns to move your Worms and annihilate the other teams using the various different bits of equipment in your inventory, however, there is a time limit to your turn, and after you have used a weapon or an item you only have around 5 seconds to beat a hasty retreat.
This adds a very real sense of urgency to the gameplay forcing you to think quickly and decisively to take out the enemy team.

It's a shame that the pacing of the game is ruined somewhat by unskippable commentary, and the five second pause you have to wait for the AI to start their turn. It isn't a huge wait by any means, but it does detract the immersiveness of the game.

The items you have at your disposal are varied and creative, enabling you to hatch and realise many different crazy or insane plans for whichever situation, like using a ninja rope to get across a chasm, only to toss a stick of dynamite at your opponents feet, or simply using a cluster bomb to demolish the ground beneath the enemy, causing them to sink like stones to the cold depths of the ocean. It's totally your choice, provided you have the skill to make your plans a  reality (well, a virtual reality, I guess ). 

The fact that it is turn based adds a sense of risk to the game, should your plan fail you've given the opponent a free turn. And they will fail. There is a gauge in the upper left corner, which shows the direction and strength of the wind, a cruel and unpredictable force for people new to the game, but a very useful feature for the veterans, helping them land the most insane hits with a bazooka or grenade. 

Too often did I misjudge the strength of the wind, and when I shot my bazooka up and slightly to the left, at half power, nothing was as crushing as seeing the projectile slow down and turn to the right, where three of my worms were standing between an oil barrel. Two casualties, and one in critical condition.

It's the epic failures like the one mentioned above that make this game so appealing to play multi player. Even the good guys over at Achievement Hunter have got a letsplay series for this game, and it's getting tons of views.

The multi player can be played in two ways; hotseat as well as online. I tried to play in hotseat with a friend of mine, but half an hour later I was still staring frustratedly at the screen. 

To be able to play hotseat mode, you're first prompted to make a team of worms with names, which is a little annoying but not too bad. It then takes you to the set up screen, where you see your own team among pre generated ones, but the pre generated ones are CPU opponents, and there is no option to add another human team, or to even change the pre existing teams to human. 

This confounded me as there is already an option to jump straight into a random match with a CPU opponent; there was no need to having CPU teams in the multi player part, other than to add in as extra enemies while you play with a friend. The match was finally set up quite a while later: by making additional human teams in the options menu. It definitely needs more thinking through, as the experience is very cumbersome. Having to go through multiple obscure menus simply to play multi player is pretty poor.

When the game was set up though, it was a lot of fun, and, as an added bonus, we were able to skip the annoying pauses that ruined the pacing in the single player mode.

The controls were surprisingly good for the most part; responsive and intuitive. Rather than slapping on an image of an analogue stick to the screen along with some buttons, Worms uses new controls built from the ground up for touch. Moving is done by either tapping the left or right side of the screen, and aiming is done by moving the crosshair. To jump, you either tap or double tap on the worm you're in control of.

The movement idea works well, but in this case I suspect an analogue stick with on screen buttons would work slightly better for the aiming and jumping part of the game. The current implementation feels a little too slow and clunky in actual use, but I do commend the developers for trying something genuinely new in terms of controls.

Visuals and Sound

The game uses the tried and tested flat cartoony graphics instead of the semi-3D look that is being used in the more recent Worms titles on the consoles. It looks great, if a little dated. The weapon effects look and sound awesome, while the weapons themselves have that usual cartoonish charm about them.

The game makes use of sound effects and music incredibly well; from the funny dialogue to the booming explosion sound effects and the music. It all adds to make the experience light hearted and entertaining, almost as though it doesn't take itself seriously (of course, this is completely at odds to the tension in the room when you're playing competitively against a friend ), despite the game being titled "Armageddon"; which causes you to think of the clich├ęd cinematic post apocalypse scenes from other video games.

Conclusion

While the single player campaign is a little dull, the multi player more than makes up for it. The game is presented well, and is an excellent port on the whole. If you've been a long time fan of the series there's no reason not to buy this game.

4 out of 5

Good
  • Strong Gameplay
  • Multi Player
  • Funny
Bad
  • Cumbersome Setup for Multi Player
  • Slow Pauses in Singleplayer
As always, thanks for reading.

Note from the Author

If you liked this review be sure to check out my blog here, or follow me on Google+ or Twitter. I write reviews of games, and share my insights on the world of technology, taking a particular interest in the rise of smart devices.




Some Screenshots from the game:






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