It’s no secret that the mobile market is a huge money-maker within the gaming industry, so it should come as no surprise that many franchises are making the jump to mobile devices in hopes of becoming more profitable and accessible. However, this isn’t always a smooth transition. For every great mobile port or entry in a series (Hitman GO) there are a dozen microtransaction-riddled messes (Dungeon Keeper). If the franchise doesn’t lend itself well to the mobile format, it’s up to the developers to adapt it properly. Some succeed while others don’t. This time, Team17 succeeds.
Worms 4, not to be confused with Team17’s other game Worms 4: Mayhem, is the first game in the series built from the ground up to be played on mobile phones and tablets. Being a longtime fan of the Worms series, I was skeptical when I found out that the next game would be an Android strategy title. Aside from the occasional touchscreen issues, I’m happy to say that this series’ transition to mobile devices is extremely smooth. Worms is still Worms.
For those new to the Worms franchise, it’s a 2D strategic artillery game where you control a team of cartoony worms who use their huge arsenal to kill or drown the enemy team(s). The randomized and destructible environments in particular have always been a big draw, as they allow for more strategic freedom. If an enemy worm is in an enclosed area, you can bombard it or drill down from the top, blowtorch your way around and behind them, or just fire a well-aimed bazooka into the opening of their cave; the possibilities are endless. The satisfaction you get from a successful environmental attack is unmatched.
The biggest draw of the Worms series is its self-aware, cartoony aesthetic, which is apparent in its art style, voice acting, weapons, and stages. Do you want your team of worms to consist of a Shakespearean thespian with an afro, a clown with a dinosaur grave, and an angry Scot with antlers? Go for it. This series has always encouraged silliness, even giving you the option to name your teams and individual worms. The monocled Pink Dookie is my MVP. When a worm’s health drops to zero, they blow themselves up with TNT, which can actually damage the other worms. This gives you one last shot at revenge and a chance to showcase your chocolate bar tombstone, providing it doesn’t bounce into the ocean. This franchise doesn’t have a serious bone in its body, and I love it for that.
The silliest aspect of the Worms series by far is the weapon selection, some of which you probably won’t believe until you see. My personal favorite is the Banana Bomb, which is a banana-shaped grenade that drops even more grenades. The funniest part of this weapon is that it has one of the strongest explosions of any weapon in the game, which makes it very common to see it propel a worm across half of the map and into the water. Another great weapon is the Super Sheep, which is exactly what it sounds. You can control the sheep’s flight and steer it into your enemy, which will cause it to explode on impact. There are other ludicrous weapons, such as the Holy Hand Grenade, the Jump Rope, and the Concrete Donkey, all of which add to the overall charm and quirkiness.
In transitioning to a mobile title, Worms 4 takes on some of the common mobile tropes, such as a three-star rating, short levels, and constant rewards. Whether this is good or bad is up to the individual, but, at its core, this is still Worms. There are less customization options than in previous games, but that’s to be expected from a mobile experience. Overall, the gameplay is still faithful to the originals. The virtual d-pad makes using the Ninja Rope a bit inaccurate, but that’s really the only issue. There isn’t much to complain about, as this is one of the best mobile entries of a PC/console series to date. If you’re a Worms fan, and you have a phone, you need to own Worms 4.
Worms 4 is a near-perfect translation of the long-running strategy franchise to mobile devices.