How often can a series get away with replicating itself time after time before it starts to look cheeky? The Worms series has been guilty of this since PSone release World Party, a sequel which didn’t add much to the previous game’s efforts save for a concrete donkey. We’ve even reviewed a couple of Worms games on this very website despite it being about as old as the Rugrats.
You almost expect the kitchen sink to turn up as a weapon in Worms 3, the latest instalment in Team17’s invertebrate artillery series and the third on iOS. Instead, the mobile-exclusive release sees fit to introduce a modicum of incremental features which add at least a little value atop what has gone before. In the end you’re buying a Worms game fully expecting to play Worms. Can that still really cut it?
• Developer: Team 17
• Publisher: Team 17
• Reviewed on: iPad
• Also Available On: iPhone
• Release Date: Available Now
As ever, Worms is all about turn-based warfare between several teams of worms across a randomly-generated 2D landscape. An endless firework display of rocket launchers, air strikes, a plethora of grenades and several varieties of detonating animal, Worms‘ combat has always been easy to pick up; the ever-changing landscape and temperamental wind make it difficult to master. The AI can be pretty hard-going at first, making much better use of the environment and the wind – but you’ll pick up a few tricks from them in no time.
Worms 3 attempts to build a bridge between touchscreen newcomers and joypad veterans by introducing a virtual d-padoption. Both control schemes share on-screen buttons to select and fire weapons, but the virtual joypad replaces touching the screen edges to move and dragging crosshairs to aim. Both schemes are equally usable, but the virtual joypad scores points for familiarity.
On the battlefield, a new trading card system attempts to serve up an extra dollop of chaos. Bought with coins earned through victories – and not, it must be commendably noted, through in-app purchases – these cards alter the environment as well as the abilities of both allied and enemy teams.
They sit alongside a new class system that allows you to assign the worms of your customised team as soldiers, scientists, heavies and scouts. This introduces an additional layer of strategy into each game: scouts can move quickly after taking a shot, but are more vulnerable to damage; the heavies, vice-versa.
The trading cards work especially well in multiplayer, ever Worms‘ true raison d’être, which returns in pass-and-play and online asynchronous form – in essence, Worms With Friends. It can be easy to be confident about holding the high ground, for instance, until the opposition puts you on a literal slippery slope into the path of a landmine. Purists can turn the cards off and for a quick game it’s advisable to do so: the clean interface can’t hide the fact that setting up and choosing cards can be a little time-consuming.
All-in-all, whether or not you pick up Worms 3 is a matter of personal choice. The virtual d-pad is a nice addition but the classes and trading cards are as good as the player chooses to make them. If you’ve not bought a Worms game for your iOS thing until now you can’t go wrong. If you’ve bought one before, it boils down to how desperate you are for a handful of new features. You could always hold out for the next game: I hear it features a kitchen sink.