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Review: A classic reborn in high-definition?

Team17 has taken the time to polish and re-create its amazingly addictive multiplayer party/strategy game, Worms, for the HD era. The good news is that it works a treat and is well suited to the Xbox Live Arcade format. The bad news? It's not really anything new, it's a re-working of older versions that's missing several weapons.

We still have fond memories of passing the Dual Shock pad round the room to our mates like professional footballers pass a blond around a hotel room. Costing just 400 Microsoft Points (a shade under £4), what you get is a classic 2D Worms game that's fun on your own if you use it to sharpen up your skills, better as a Local game and great over Xbox Live with your mates. As with most multiplayer games over Live you're at the mercy of your opponent not quitting because he or she's losing miserably, but that's hardly a fault of the game.

There have been several different versions on several different systems over the years. Some of the later 3D versions never really captured the same feel (or review scores) of the original. And proving that the 2D gameplay has withstood the test of time, it still causes outrageous arguments between good friends about how many times you should be allowed to use the rope and whether or not there should even be a jetpack. But that's what made the original great.

To ease you back into the 2D gameplay, there are a couple of very quick training exercises to run through that give you the basics. Then there are a range of challenges to be played against varying difficulty levels of AI. The first couple are easy and then the AI quickly ups its game and becomes as annoying as a mate who whinges about the jetpack. Annoyingly the AI Worms do take their time over their moves and it's not as much fun shouting at the computer.

Running in full glory on a 32" HD TV, Worms looks great. It's clear, crisp and colourful visuals only make you want to play another game. Animations on the Worms are as quirky as ever and those cute little voices with different accents still hold the same charm they always did. We have come across the occasional glitch where the environmental and ambient soundtrack cut out for a few minutes, but all in, the turn-based gameplay is well-suited to XBLA and it all works perfectly well.

There are some odd omissions from the weapons list but there is the option to fully customise the weapons set-up and save it for use online. It's pretty easy to include only the weapons and restrictions you want to play with. Obsessive Worms fans will surly come up with interesting modes as the possibilities are endless.

Downloadable content is an option for the game and, fingers crossed; this could expand the weapons set and themes to play on. Surly there'll be an uproar in the forums over some of the striking weapon omissions.

If you don't already own a version, or have done in the past but got rid if it, then Worms on XBLA is well worth a punt for the price. To get the most out of it though, Worms is best enjoyed with mates over Live.

The verdict

As fun as ever but the lack of lack of new ideas and absent weapons makes it fall short of a must-have.

  • Great visuals
  • Xbox Live play works well
  • It's Worms! In HD!
  • Where are all the weapons?
  • A few new ideas wouldn't have hurt
  • AI takes ages to move
Xbox Live Arcade
Team 17
Sim / Strategy, Action