If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That is what they say and that is what seems to be the case when playing the latest Worms game from Team17 on the Wii, Worms: Battle Islands. But can a game that has remained more or less unchanged since it’s conception really compete in this modern age?
Well, the answer is both yes and no. The core gameplay which pits two teams of Worms against each other in a fight to the death across a randomly generated 2D landscape, is still there and still as much fun as ever. Of course there is plenty of new stuff added to make the game more interesting, which I shall discuss in a minute, but there are a few flaws to be found as well.
The game comes with an excellent tutorial for anyone who has yet to experience a Worms game, which is handy, along with a single player campaign, a puzzle mode and the most important multiplayer mode. The campaign, which would normally be the core aspect of a game, features the player taking on various levels consisting of a number of team vs team battles and a one on one boss battle. Each completed level gives the player experience that is used to unlock various customisation options, allowing the player to give his team of Worms a truly unique look. These include hats, victory animations, gravestones to mark the location of a fallen warrior, and voices. In a first for a Worms game, the player can even customise their weapons.
The player has access to what is their very own island which acts as the centre piece to the game and contains all of the abilities that the player has gained. These abilities may be initiated before a match from the war room, to give the player an advantage, such as being able to increase the health of a Worm. The Tactics mode in multiplayer will allow the player to take these abilities from others by defeating them, or lose their own abilities if defeated, offering something tangible for winning a match.
The Puzzle mode was my favorite, barring the multiplayer of course, in the previous Worms game that I played and has the player working through 30 different levels that involve more than just mindless violence, instead relying on tactics and planning.This time around the Puzzle mode is as entertaining as before and is the best way to enjoy the Worms game alone.
But multiplayer is what the game is all about, being able to pit outlandish weapons against a team of Worms controlled by a friend is about as much fun as you can have. With a selection of different modes available, such as the hilarious Forts in which the teams are on separate islands, each with their own “Fort”, Racing and the previously mentioned Tactics, there are plenty of different ways to enjoy the Worms experience in multiplayer. This can all be enjoyed locally with up to four players or online. The problem seems to be the lack of online players and thus the lack of available matches, which is a real shame.
From a visual point of view, the game looks pretty much how you would expect. Not a lot has changed over the years with the way the game looks. However, on a down side, I have seen this same game on the PSP and have to say that it looks far better than the Wii version, which seems very blurry and indistinct. The controls for the game are fairly straight forward, as you would expect, with the WiiMote being used either with a Nunchuk or alone, sideways. This is simply a matter of personal choice as to which performs best for the player, as each work as well as the other.
With some 40 odd weapons to rain down destruction on the opposing team, every game of Worms: Battle Islands will be different. The core gameplay remains as fun and enjoyable as ever. But is it enough anymore? Are we expecting more from our games? Worms: Battle Islands works really well on the Sony handheld device, but on the Wii it just feels like there needs to be more. If you are looking for some Worms action on the Wii, then this is the game for you. But if you are expecting advances in Worms gameplay, you will be disappointed.