I recently received an unwanted visit from a bunch of flour worms in my flat. Nasty, little larvae, creeping on the walls, coming from my neighbour's home who is obviously keeping some boxes of pasta he bought in 1962. I mean, everyone hates crawling things. But there's a videogame series that made even worms look cute and lovely, a series produced by British developer Team 17 and simply called "Worms".
To be honest, the series had had some highs and lows, passing from some gorgeous 2D games in the beginning, to some 3D experiments that partially succeeded. Worms Reloaded is a step back, a real return to the origins. There's a lot of Worms 2 in Reloaded, and I can be nothing but happy about that.
In other words, playing Worms Reloaded feels like playing an old game of this marvellous series. Everything - from design to menus, from 2D graphics to voices - has been borrowed from some old Worms game. True novelties can be counted on the fingers of one hand and they don't alter the gameplay which made this series so popular.
The formula is exactly the same we appreciated in the past: you control an army of worms with one of the most awesome arsenals ever, in a deadly war game with another troop of invertebrates. To break your squidgy enemies into small pieces you can use any sort of weapon: bazookas, rifles, mines and, of course, exploding sheep, bananas and the Monty Python-inspired Holy Hand Grenade. This is the real heart of the game, and I don't need to say that even after fifteen years, it is working bloody well. Playing with worms is funny, perky and addicting.
Besides the standard random matches against CPU and/or human beings, Worms Reloaded lets the player play a campaign mode with 35 theme-based levels, most of them structured as deathmatches. There are also some specials levels in which you just have to walk through an obstacle course using items like jetpacks and grappling hooks, and some nice puzzles where you have a very limited number of items and weapons to kill some defenceless enemies in a tricky way. In these levels the gameplay reminds me of a twisted and perverted version of The Incredible Machine, and it's a shame Team 17 didn't include a whole game mode based on these puzzles. By completing the levels you earn bonus points, that can be used to buy new weapons, settings, graves and funny hats. The game is extremely customisable and, with the simple level editor, you can create your own playable maps.
Warzone (a 30-level deathmatch mode) and Body Count modes are also included. In Body Count you control just one worm against some weaker enemies that respawn stronger when you kill them. It's a survival mode in which the number of turns, kills and multiple kills determine the final score. You can also enjoy a robust online mode with the possibility to use both text and vocal chat.
Worms: Reloaded isn't just a nostalgic game. Perhaps the developers chose the easiest path by giving us a Worms game based on the most successful titles of the series, without significant upgrades. But, again, even after so many years this formula is very strong. Worms: Reloaded, just like the first game of the series, is fun, pleasant and ridiculous. The accessible price makes this even more appealing. I suggest you download the demo: you may see worms from another perspective and, actually, start to love them.