Team17 revisit pastures old in Worms Ultimate Mayhem, offering some entertaining Wormy action to gamers on XBL, PSN and PC. But isn’t it about time we saw something new?
Worms was one of the first games that I bought for my shiny new P75 PC back in the day. Since then, the series has been a constant through pretty much every platform I have chosen to play on. Although I love the Worms franchise dearly, I feel as though things have stalled in the most recent past and that it is time for something new.
Take the latest installment, Worms Ultimate Mayhem. The game is a combination of Worms 3D and Worms 4: Mayhem, complete with some new customisation options. The resulting package is certainly packed to the brim with content, but offers very little for fans of the series who will have no doubt played the aforementioned titles already, and also brings with it the problems that plagued the original titles the first time around.
The majority of Worms titles are presented in 2D. However, Worms Ultimate Mayhem casts the Wormy heroes into three-dimensions. This initially sounds like a great idea, and in a lot of ways it is. But with 3D come a number of problems that reduce the fun factor. A lot of the problems revolve around the camera, which doesn’t work especially well in the game. Aiming becomes a lot more difficult, reducing the chances of getting that perfect shot, and the sense of joy at watching your opponent Worms being blown into the air can be completely lost as the player quite often cannot see the results of their careful targeting.
The game packs in quite a lot of content for the single Worms player, including all of the story missions from Worms 3D and a fair chunk from Worms 4. Single player has never really been a strong point in the Worms game, and here is no different. The missions themselves can offer some variety, such as having to collect items or reach a certain location rather than the standard deathmatch setup. But beyond the camera problems I have already mentioned, there are a few other issues. Many of the missions will require some form of movement and Worms move very slowly. They are also rubbish at jumping with any precision, which is something that can be incredibly frustrating when a mistimed jump can result in losing five or six turns worth of movement.
Then there is the enemy AI. This alternates between sharpshooter precision and complete hopelessness on the flip of a coin. Carefully balancing your way along a plank, your turn ends and the enemy Worms manages to throw a grenade with such precision that it explodes beneath you and sends you tumbling to the ground, thus losing multiple rounds of movement. On their next turn, there is every possibility that the enemy Worm will throw the grenade at their own feet and blow themselves up. It is incredibly inconsistent.
But the local or online multiplayer is where most Worms fans will be headed. The camera issues are still apparent, but plague all players so can be forgiven, and everyone should prepare for much longer games, as more time is spent moving into the perfect position than actually attacking. Otherwise it is business as usual.
There are some brilliant new maps, weapons and modes to be enjoyed with friends in Worms Ultimate Mayhem. New weapons include the likes of the Inflatable Scouser and the Bovine Blitz, whilst multiplayer modes include such as Homeland or Statue Defend. All of the games can be customised to the players whim, allowing for a massive variety in multiplayer games.
Also on the customisation front are the Worms themselves. A highlight for the serious Worms player is being able to create their own team of Worms and there are plenty of options in Worms Ultimate Mayhem to keep them happy. Choose their names, appearance, voices and even which gravestone they leave behind when they die. There is even the chance to create custom weaponry, which can come as a nasty shock for your opponents.
Worms Ultimate Mayhem has a lot of content. Although little of the single player content is new or compelling, it is the multiplayer that is king, offering a staggering array of customisation options and a whole lot of fun. There may be a few issues, but that Wormy fun that we all know and love is still here in abundance. Which is the main problem in many ways – Worms Ultimate Mayhem is a great package, but it is time for something new from the Worms franchise.