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Worms: A Space Oddity

Worms: A Space Oddity

Worms has been a successful franchise running since mid 90’s and the latest version hits the Wii platform with the intention of using a very clever control system to separate it from the previous releases.

If you have been living under a rock for the last decade then I will explain the basic gaming mechanic – up to four teams of worms battle in a 2d environment until one is wiped out by any underhanded means possible. It sounds simple, and it is; however it is also a hell of a lot of fun.

A Space Oddity follows this tried and trusted turn based combat system  and you must boost your arsenal of firepower by collecting weapons and health creates. You must do all this while moving your team around the terrain to boost your offensive and defensive positions.

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Versus modes have three difficulty levels, beginner, intermediate and pro. The higher the level the less time each unit has to move and attack, additionally the computer AI skill increases. An additional mode is available called "Short Supply" which limits the in game weaponry to a single selection, this means collecting the crates becomes critical. My personal favourite is Fort battle mode, which focuses just as strongly on defensive play.

To play the game you simply hook up the Wii remote, and if you are playing with friends, each person has a turn to share the controller. The success of a game like this is based on the simplicity and effectiveness of the control system and thankfully the coding has been well tested, the motion sensitive controls are precise. I particularly liked the new rocket attack which is directed with the Wii controller making for a more interactive experience, however you will need a very steady hand to be successful. You can also  use the controller in a vertical downward motion to set off offensive bomb weapons, putting the focus firmly on the Wii’s strengths – the motion based control mechanic.

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To pan the screen you hold the + button and move the Wii remote, however I would have preferred if this was handled by the D-pad as the motion is only as smooth as your arm (which in my case is not very). On the highest level with limited time, this can prove rather more difficult than I am sure the developers intended.

If, like me you can remember the Worms games of yesterday you will fondly recall the huge plethora of cool and wacky weapons with which to pummel your opponent. Sadly the latest Worms games seem to be on a weaponry diet and A Space Oddity is no exception, there are only 10 weapons at hand with 7 additional tools. Granted most of them are brilliantly utilised but it won’t be long before variety will be high on the wish list. World Party on the PC for example had over 5 times as many weapons! It just reeks of laziness to me as the Wii would have absolutely no problem in handling a much more diverse library of attacks.

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The single player tutorials are a good introduction to the game mechanics as they take you through the weapons and tools at your disposal. These tutorials are timed so you can return later and see if you can improve on your best time.

The single player game story mode pits the player in a series of puzzle and battle based levels as you struggle to repair your craft and return to earth. These are varied and an interesting addition to the game, however I found them a little dull and uninspiring in the long term and yearned to return to the multiplayer fragfest with a couple of buddies.

There are five levels for each world in story mode and once beaten you get a bonus sixth task which also becomes available as a stand alone minigame. They are a decent little addition to the overall package but I would have much preferred the development time to be spent creating more weapons!

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Online Multiplayer is missing entirely and is a rather unfortunate omission as the ideal of crazy battles with a bunch of people across the world holds plenty of appeal. This really only leaves single player and local based multiplayer and I feel again that a certain amount of laziness is the reason for this.

As before, you can create your own teams (maximum of three) and custom landscapes. You create these with the Wii remote and are actually a lot more fun that it sounds, you trace the outline of the terrain you want and choose elements from all the pre built maps to add to your own, you can then save the completed map for editing at a later date. You are limited to a maximum of 16 custom landscapes and you can also choose a range of options for your team, such as audio and colour. The taunts and dialogue in Space Oddity are as amusing as prior escapades, however that said they really should have spent more time building a little more repertoire into the coding. All the speech sets are very limited and therefore become rather grating.

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You can also choose the Battle type you wish to play as well as number of wins for a total victory and the frequency of crates and turn timings.

The graphics are bright and colourful and while they certainly aren’t pushing the envelope on any level, they are suffice to create the necessary mood for the hilarious comedy combat.

Worms: A Space Oddity is a relative success on the Nintendo Wii and the development team have wisely chosen to focus on the unique possibilities for controlling the worms, this works very well. Sadly however the limited weaponry and the total omission for online multiplayer detract from the feeling of value with the overall package.

As such it is recommended, but only with reservations for long term value for money.

A lot of fun and still as funny as ever.
Acceptable for the genre, but hardly inspiring.
Witty dialogue but quite limited in overall scope.
SIngle player mode is average and there is a total lack of online support limiting the appeal.
(Not an Average)
A fun game which works well on the Wii. It just needs more weapons and online support to be a true classic. Maybe next time …

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

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