If you’re going to blow something up, forget dynamite, forget C4, and give up the nukes. There’s only one weapon on Earth that can do the level of destruction you require: The Holy Hand Grenade. This Worms classic is the pinnacle of the franchise’s innovation, and sadly absent from the Xbox Live Arcade translation.
It’s one of many usual suspects absent. Old Lady, explosive cows, Super Sheep, and countless others have suddenly found themselves on the bench for this iteration of worm on worm warfare. It hurts this turn based strategy title immensely, though choosing from the roster of what’s left does make for some deeper strategy.
The premise of this series that dates back to 1995 is simple. You have four cute ‘n cuddly worms. The enemy has four cute ‘n cuddly worms. Taking timed turns, you have a short amount of time to dismantle your foe and then try to retreat to safety to cover yourself from the eventual revenge tactics. While trademark weapons are absent, choices include the always-fabulous banana bomb, homing missile, poke, shotgun, uzi, and always-ugly dragon punch.
Each choice has specific characteristics, making all of them a risky proposition. You’ll likely kill yourself unintentionally as often as you wipe the planet from your opponent’s presence. That’s where the majority of the fun comes from. If you find yourself frustrated by the fifth rocket not striking as you ingeniously planned, this is not the game for you.
Numerous alterations have been made since the last 2-D version of the franchise. Explosives have a far smaller radius, the ninja rope necessary for vaulting across the map is far more difficult to use, and wind has an even stronger effect on thrown weapons. Those who wisely avoided the attempts at 3-D Worms and stuck with the classics will have some adjustments to make.
Single player is hardly the way to experience Worms. Likewise, the solo campaign here is a throw away. Computer A.I. is ridiculous, making repeated miraculous shots that seem to stick to your worms. In later challenges, you’ll be up against three other teams of four, and they’re all gunning for your squad.
Online or locally, multi-player is where Worms fans will waste their time. Customization options are limited much like the weapon set, but each choice makes the situation radically different. Four players will never have more fun online than they will here.
While it misses a few marks, long time Worms fans have a lot to looking forward to. Once into the game, the loss of the Holy Hand Grenade will seem like a moot point. You’ll be too involved with trying to place a perfect stick of dynamite while ninja roping yourself around the map to care. From a multi-player standpoint, this is one of the best on Xbox Live.
Worms HD is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Mild Cartoon Violence.