It’s hard to believe a series about opposing teams of worms blowing the snot out of each other on destructible 2D landscapes has been around longer than almost any modern gaming franchise. Originally an Amiga game from British developer Team17, Worms has migrated to almost every platform since and even briefly bumped over to the realm of 3D. But Worms remains a true 2D experience at core, and Worms Reloaded is a perfect example of just why the game continues to endure.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of Worms, it’s pretty simple. Assault teams of four worms each are dropped onto a cartoony 2D battleground, where they simply take turns attacking each other in the hopes of destroying the other teams. The cavernous environments are entirely destructible islands offering opportunities to destroy a competing worm with direct hits or explosive blasts that can send them flying to a watery doom. Wind speed, elevation, and other physics-based variables often play a key role in aiming.

There are almost 50 different weapons and gadgets to make use of during these battles, and the sheer variety of tools at your disposal is both astounding and amusing. Standard weapons like grenades and the bazooka have long been mainstays of destruction. There are plenty of other guns — pistols, machine guns, the shotgun, rocket launcher, and more — but when Worms gets creative with its destruction, the game really takes off. While longtime fans might lament the omission of the exploding old woman and mad cow, the 14 new weapons like the sentry gun, seeking ferret, and other amusingly useful aids make up for any absences. Also, the super sheep and ninja rope remain firmly intact.

Granted, the added goodies are only new to the PC version. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 players of Worms 2: Armageddon will find most of the enhancements here rather familiar. The gameplay is basically completely unchanged from previous versions, so if you’ve played any of the past Worms there’s not going to be any shocking changes or revelations here. That said, Worms Reloaded is certainly the most refined and sharpest looking addition to the series.

Like a bizarre, horribly violent, yet utterly cute cartoon, Worms Reloaded enacts it’s scenes of annelid destruction through amazingly sharp and colorful 2D visuals. Reloaded really isn’t a complete visual makeover, but the graphics are strikingly good. There’s an incredible array of scenery styles—ranging from different climates and far-out themes—and the battleground configuration is randomly generated each time. If you do get tired of the standard backdrops, you can easily create your own and trade them with friends.

At the start, you’ll be able to customize your team of worm warriors. You can give your little buddies a flag, a funny voice, and plenty of other customizations before sending into battle both online and off. The single-player game is tons of fun, with an impressive variety of different scenarios to hone your skills. Internet play is where the true value of the game comes in though, and as usual, Worms Reloaded works fantastically online.

The Blast Factor: If you’re new to the series, this is the perfect time to jump aboard. Yet, veteran players who intend to stick with the PC version will find Worms Reloaded absolutely worthwhile. The simple gameplay is immensely entertaining, yet mastering the game will still take hours of practice. Endless online games, randomly generated battlegrounds, and a plethora of crazy weapons and items all give the Worms incredible replay value.

About The Author

Jason D’Aprile has been writing about technology, games, movies, and gadgets for the last three decades. His musings on all of the above can be found at Jason only condones virtual violence and wishes we could all just get along.

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