N-Gage Review: Worms World Party

Team 17's Worms series is one of the best in the history of the industry. In the realm of easy to pick up turn-based strategy titles, there is no comparison. It's brilliant by game design standards, and on the N-Gage, none of that changes.

World Party was the (sadly) final 2-D game in the series. Dreamcast owners should be familiar with it as it came to Sega's console with full online support. The same goes for the N-Gage, though with sales numbers like they are, finding an opponent is more a challenge than keeping your worms alive.

The concept is absurd, over the top, and undeniably addictive. Taking a team of four wildly animated invertebrate, the goal is to mutilate the other squad using an array of hilarious weapons. There is A LOT to learn in Worms, which makes the claim of pick up and play seem absurd to a newcomer. Training is adequate, though by no means a replacement for trying out each individual weapon in real combat. Once you're familiar with the logistics of a Super Sheep, Holy Hand Grenade, and Concrete Donkey, you'll fit right in.

Part of the Worms experience is killing yourself. This is not intentional of course, but playing with a friend who launches a rocket improperly or drops dynamite too close to escape is a game experience everyone should have. There are just as many ways to screw up as there are to destroy the opposing enemy.

This N-Gage translation provides deeper customization than was previously available. There are now countless variables in the players control and an infinite amount of randomly generated stages to battle on. You can set what dropped ammunition crates will contain, time allotted for moves, water levels, and far too many more that can be discussed here. Controls are simple with only a few buttons required for play.

Surprisingly, World Party sports more detail than the Dreamcast version a few years ago. Explosions are meatier, with an extra comic book-like text for emphasis. Play is smooth, and AI responds quickly, though sometimes far too intelligently. Some of the shots they connect with are all but impossible for a human player to accurately align.

Worms is and always will be a multi-player title. That leaves a glaring hole where the single player features should lie. The mission mode is barely any fun (and you don't gain anything for completing it). Competing against the AI suffers for the issue mentioned above, but for a few quick games, it's tolerable. Still, it's hard to believe with the ingenuity it took to balance and create this title, an involving single player mode should not have been a problem.

Nonetheless, this is rare classic for the N-Gage that recreates everything you would want from this series in portable form. Nothing can take away from the concept and it's incredible execution. That's all retained here in fine form. This is a killer app if you have multi-player capabilities.

(***** out of *****)

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