I know what you're thinking. Video games are fun, but there just aren't enough worms exploding on the screens. Well, worry no more: the worms are back to blow each other up in the latest installment of the Worms series. Fans of the games will immediately slip into the old steps of blowing up the worms of others, while newcomers will question what they are doing, before slipping into the groove of blowing up other worms as well.
Anyone looking for dramatic changes to the formula is not going to find anything here, which is probably a good thing, but that's not to say the game doesn't add anything new. The main question is whether or not fans or newcomers will want to shell out hard-earned cash for this version of the invertebrate-busting action or just turn back to the previous versions for some classic gameplay.
Worms, for the uninitiated, is a two-dimensional turn-based blow-'em-up game. There are 3D iterations, but the true wormy action is in the 2D versions. Two or more teams of the titular worms face off, alternating their turns. Each turn you're given control of a single worm from your team, able to move them around and fire a weapon, trying to either reduce the hit points of the rival worms or simply knock them into the water below.
Much of the allure comes from the sheer range of weaponry that the games have provided through the iterations. From standard weaponry like bazookas and shotguns, the series has grown its arsenal and force, adding a bevy of strange and unique weaponry like the Super Sheep and the famous Holy Hand Grenade. Open Warfare 2 adds nearly a dozen new additions to the mix, such as the strategic Sentry Gun and the oddly named Buffalo of Lies, keeping things fresh.
The variety of gameplay modes means a variety of ways to play the game beyond just a typical deathmatch (though, of course, if that's what you want, you won't be disappointed). Aside from this, there are the Fort mode, where two islands full of worms fire weaponry at each other, and Race mode, which is exactly what it sounds like: a race is on to reach a goal quicker than your opponents. There are also Puzzle maps, where you must complete specific objectives with a specific arsenal, which forces you to use your noggin, not just your aiming abilities.
Most of the matches in the game reward you with credits, which can be used to purchase a variety of unlockables within the game. These give you access to a variety of content, ranging from the simple - new skin colors and voices for your worm teams - to unlocking additional levels in the game. There's a lot to purchase - and so a lot to play through to get them all - but none of them really add much to the game, like the various unlockable cheats in previous Worms titles.
Single player is enjoyable, but the somewhat-absurdly difficult AI (even the easiest mode can get crack shots without breaking a sweat) can be frustrating, and when there's no one else to gloat about your victories to, they often feel hollow. This is where the multiplayer portion of the game comes into play. Worms: Open Warfare 2 comes with a variety of multiplayer options for anyone with friends that make suitable targets for bazooka fire. There's the standard hot-seat mode, which has become a staple over the years. If no friends are about (perhaps to the aforementioned bazooka-ing), Wi-fi mode is also present. Not just content with showing off your Worms skills? The presence of leaderboards will allow you to prove your abilities in Ranked matches.
Much like almost every iteration of the series, Worms: Open Warfare 2 does not seek to completely revolutionize the series, but merely adds another layer of weapons, modes, and customizations. The AI can be a bit frustrating at times but looking beyond that is the standard enjoyable gameplay that everyone has come to expect from the series.