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Nintendo DS Review: Worms: Open Warfare 2

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The Worms series of games has long been loved for its multiplayer chaos and cartoonish violence, but when it moved to the Nintendo DS, it seemed to lose a step. The first portable version of Worms was met with poor reviews due to a number of problems. This time around, things are a lot better and a lot closer to the old PC titles, which is a very good thing.

This newest installment in the classic Worms franchise brings a Quick Game mode that jumps you into a randomized map; a Custom Game mode that lets you set up your own battles and edit your own battlefields; a Multiplayer mode; and a Single Game mode, which is comprised of Puzzle, Campaign, Laboratory, and Training modes. Laboratory mode is perhaps the most interesting and integrated with the DS, as it uses the mic and stylus to complete challenges, such as drawing land in the right spot to reach a goal at the end of the level.

Open Warfare 2 is classic Worms game play. Your goal is to defeat the enemy worms by any means possible, and in this game, that means with bazookas, guns, rockets, grenades, boomerangs, exploding bananas, sheep, and a whole lot more. In order to do this, you aim your weapon, select the power level, release, and watch the chaos unfold. In other forms, like puzzle mode, you'll have to figure out solutions to both complete the level, such as having to set off a chain of explosive drums or maneuver a jet pack up the side of a mountain to pick off an enemy. Not everything from the old Worms games is here, but plenty of old favorites are still around.

The big question with this and all DS games, though, is how it makes use of the dual-screen and stylus. Open Warfare 2 uses it well, allowing for navigation through menus and the ability to move the cursor and scan the battlefield, but it doesn't let you adjust the angle of your shot, which is a bit sad, but considering that the game still plays smoothly, it's a brief squabble.

From the opening video to the game's 2 1/2-D style, Open Warfare 2 looks just like its PC counterparts. The graphics are crisp and clean, and the backgrounds never seem to be static and dull. For example, on the war-themed level, a biplane flies back and forth in the background, sometimes dropping crates of items. Similarly, sound is much improved and is as crystal clear as it ever was on the PC.

Open Warfare 2 brings online multiplayer into the fold and does so remarkably well. Friend Codes are back, yes, but if you can stomach that minor inconvenience, you get a great online experience. Along with Quick and Custom Game features and offline multiplayer capabilities, there's plenty of fun to be had.

Worms: Open Warfare 2 is a throwback to the old Worms games of yesteryear, and at the same time, a huge improvement over Worms: Open Warfare. If you love this series or just want a great game you can play to kill a few minutes of time, then pick this title up. This should be a title in every Nintendo DS owner's library.

Pros: Great traditional Worms action. Major improvements in all areas over Worms: Open Warfare. Easy-to-use interface, combined with a wide variety of weapons and great graphics and sound, make this a must-have. Online multiplayer is a great bonus.

Cons: DS screens are a bit small for Worms action, but other than that, not much.

Worms: Open Warfare 2 is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Mild Cartoon Violence.

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About Brian Szabelski

  • Matt Paprocki

    Given the need for specific aiming angles, the touch screen seems like common sense given the lack of an analog stick. Odd developer choice.

  • Blast Magazine

    Congrats, this article has been selected to appear in Blast Magazine, in its November 1 issue.