The Worms series hasn’t changed much since the original released in 1995. Wait. Actually, it has, but the deviations into 3D were so bad that the gaming community as a whole has blocked them from its memory. So it’s understandable, then, that Worms Reloaded doesn’t try anything risky.
Reloaded, the first two-dimensional Worms on the PC in almost a decade, is full of nostalgia. Everything you remember is here: teams of up to four worms each duke it out on two-dimensional battlefields, taking turns sniping at each other and causing mayhem with exploding sheep. Series veterans will be happy to learn that most of the fan-favorite weapons are back, from the Monty Python-inspired Holy Hand Grenade to the incredibly destructive Armageddon.
The entire thing is based on the engine used for the console Worms titles, so it’ll look familiar to those who’ve played that version. Everything is simplified and slick to be optimized for small screens as well as spacious plasmas. Team17 has added some new environments, but they’re purely aesthetic.
There’s a single-player campaign, but it serves largely as an extended tutorial, showing off techniques as well as the game’s new modes and weapons. There are increasingly difficult team battles, as well as timed or turn-limited challenges that show off advanced tactics. Everything ramps up to the multiplayer component, which is obviously the focus of the Steam-exclusive release. (There’s a second campaign mode with particularly maddening challenges as well.)
To bring itself into the current gaming climate, Reloaded introduces many customizable elements, from worm color to hats to user interface themes. Your worms now stick out in multiplayer, and not just because of the colored names floating above their heads. In addition, the level editor has much more detail than previous versions, as bridges have returned and start positions and item drops are customizable.
Ultimately, though, it’s still just Worms. The gameplay’s just not that much different from the originals. If that bothers you, then walk away. But that really won’t bother most people, and now that there’s a modern online system through Steam, expect a lot of multiplayer support.