Worms is just one of those games that won't go away, and we don't mean that in a derogatory manner. Team 17 have been putting Worms in various battle fields to blow each other into pink goop for longer then some gamers may have been alive. The concept was simple, but has gained a popularity that keeps it still going strong to this day. Worms 3D was a blotch on the record but showed that the game could be done in 3D even though it needed a little work. Well the next game is about to be released and we briefly went hands on with a build of the Xbox game to see if that required work has been completed.
There isn't much of a storyline to Worms. For those of you who aren't familiar with the franchise, you are allocated a number of pink blobs to take to war and kill a bunch of other pink blobs. On paper it doesn't sound all that great, but in practice it became one of the most popular PC games and now console titles. It is the way the game is played out with its humorous overtones given off by the way the worms act and the weapons the game offers players to use. Fans of the franchise will be happy to know that Forts Under Siege continues all this and adds even more to the gameplay.
The game will feature both single and multiplayer play (offline or on Xbox Live) and a campaign style mode. Outside of the campaign mode you can choose up to four teams to fight it out (but you can't currently select only AI teams to watch) and set things such as how many worms are on each team and which level it will be played on. From there you and a friend or the AI take turns in moving each worm and using weapons, the team with the last worms alive wins. Killing each other's worms is where the game and franchise has always shined and it is no different in Forts.
It is not a simple case of selecting a real world weapon and pumping bullets into each other, but more using weird and wacky weapons to take each other out such as a bouncing sheep which explodes, a shotgun which is fairly self explanatory or a rocket launcher. You will also find a number of special items used to assist the worms move about the place such as a jet pack and more miscellaneous options such as 'skip a turn', where the worm will actually skip with a skipping rope reinforcing the numerous nature of the game.
Up until now those of you who have played the game are probably thinking rehash with a few new levels but this title actually has something new which could change the way the game is played entirely by new players and veterans of the series. You can now alter the landscape of the level, without blowing it up. During each time a player may have the opportunity to construct a small building to enhance the defences of their base, hence the name Forts Under Siege. These buildings can become interconnected to allow your worms to move between them safely without touching the ground. This will be the main new addition to the game and will offer a great deal more strategy for players and something fresh and new to use.
The locations for the battles are inspired by real world locations such as the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt. The worms attire is also determined by this. In China they wear samurai hats while in Egypt, more along the lines of the Pharaoh's. Most of the levels were unlocked in the build we checked out (we aren't sure if more were unlocked for this build then will be initially in the final game) but some remained locked. Throughout the game you will be able to unlock more levels to play in, upgraded weapons and new weapons (30 are in the game in total) which gives the game more replay value then ever before.
One of the main problems with Worms 3D was the transition to 3D made the game a great deal harder to play. No longer did you only have to somewhat aim towards your desired target and shoot as with the earlier 2D games. This problem on quick impression seems to have carried on to the new game and players will again have to adjust to the 3D surroundings before taking a shot. This means that like Worms 3D the game will initially have a strong learning curve and possibly too strong for some casual gamers to put up with. However with the addition of Fort gameplay, many may be more inclined to stick with the game to see how the new strategies play out.
In terms of the graphics detail at this stage the game is looking fairly good but not much of an improvement upon Worms 3D, but then there is only so much detail you can put into what really amounts to being a pink blob of flesh. The levels in the current build however look great and will offer some unique settings to battle in. Adding in the fact you can alter these levels with your own buildings, and the environments are most likely going to be the best feature of the game. The voices of the worms are the baby style talk that has been associated wit the game from the beginning which you will like or really just want to turn it off.
Worms: Forts Under Siege looks like it will mix up the traditional gameplay mechanics of the franchise in more ways the one by not only going 3D as per the last game, but also offering the ability to alter the environments and upgrade weapons. If you're hankering to blow up some more pink blobs, it should be out some time soon but we will hopefully have some more impressions on the way.