The Worms franchise is among the most loved gaming series in history. With a decade under its belt and games spread out on various sytems, Team17 cooked up a winner with their artillery-based tactical warfare game starring those cutesy ‘lil worms and their comedic exploits. The latest offering in the series takes the little critters to the final frontier (space for all of you that missed Star Trek) in a quest to fix their broken spaceship and return back to earth.
Take me to your leader
The game starts out with a brief CGI intro that looks like it was lost footage of a Disney movie we never heard about. Half of the intro can be viewed before you start a single-player campaign and the cliffhanger is picked up once you start the game. Once you get into the game, you can customize the look of your character, there are a variety of helmets, win animations, and colors to choose from. But what really tops them all is the voice styling you can choose for your character. You can choose between a myriad of languages. I don’t speak French, Italian, or German but I’m guessing the humor the series is known for is intact with those languages as well. I choose Emperor for my playing experience based on how absurd it sounded to have my worm walking around boasting in an aristocratic voice terms like “My empire will dominate you!” and various other things.
The game has an almost Saturday morning cartoon effect to the graphics, THQ boasted that the graphics were given a “cardboard” like effect and while the graphics don’t translate the good paper effects of a game such as Super Paper Mario for Wii they are simplistic in a very effective way. As it’s been with all Worms games, the environments are pretty much completely destructible. Most of the time you’re going to need to plow into the scenery because some level objectives have you retrieving items that are at times buried underneath you.
When enemies are killed they usually end up screaming, blowing themselves up and leaving a tombstone behind, this all adds to the comedy theme and character of the game.
The music sounds like it’s performed by a big classical orchestra, the only downside is that the same theme plays over and over and it can get a bit tedious.
In space no one can hear you scream
The meat of the Worms games has always been about the combat, and Team17 has tried to provide fans of the series with a familiar foundation, but also add a working scheme for the Wii controls. All you need to play this game is the Wii Remote. There are no other control options. You handle moving your Worm with the d-pad, jumping is designated to the A button, calling up your weapon inventory with the 1 button, and getting hints by a press of the 2 button.
There are a variety of weapons but most of them fall into the grenade, projectile or explosive category. Handling of grenades is extremely enjoyable. First you must decide how much power you want to put into your throw, this is handled by moving the Wii remote up towards you and then holding the trigger when you’re satisfied. There is an on-screen target reticle that you can move up or down with the d-pad in the direction you want to throw, and then a flick of the Wii remote shows you the trajectory of your throw. It can be a bit tricky at times — sometimes it may not register your throw and there can be mishaps — but playing around with this scheme and then letting grenades fly and hit a hapless enemy remains highly enjoyable.
Black hole sun… won’t you come…
The series has always been about turn-based strategy, and that doesn’t change with A Space Oddity. From the onset of the level you’re given an objective or combination of objectives ranging from destroying enemies, finding items to continue, or rescuing your crew. Enemies and items are strewn throughout the levels strategically and it’s up to you to figure out the best plan of action.
The camera in A Space Oddity does some really weird things at times. I couldn’t figure out if it was just me or the way the game was designed. At times it will be zoomed out and you can see pretty much the whole level. But after you move to a certain part of the level it would completely zoom-in leaving you with no clear sight of where the enemies were or what they were doing. This hampers the experience with the game, due to the fact you need to really see the enemy to throw that grenade at them. Not too mention when the enemy’s turn has ended they also move around themselves. I tried to figure out if it was the way I was moving or the locations I was moving to and it seemed to me to be a completely random thing, which led to some spells of guessing when trying to make that last heave on my last sliver of energy.
Worms: A Space Oddity is a game defined by its objectives, from collecting ship parts, advancing to the next level, or blowing up a bunch of funny looking enemies. If you enjoy strategy-based games and comedy then you’ll find a solid experience in this game. Or if you’re just looking for simple easy fun, to play in spurts, rewarding you with a sense of achievement as well as give you a few laughs then this is the game for you as well.
The game offers extensive replay value by giving you in-game achievements which open up more goodies to play with, as well as multiplayer. A huge concern I had is the obvious lack of an online mode in this game. Worms is a series practically screaming for online competion, and while the game is fun, I can’t see how 2 players playing side by side would be able to lose themselves in the turn-based experience unless they were already Worm fans. But when dealing with the final product as it stands on the Wii, I feel Space Oddity is really a title that few outside of the fans of the series will get into or even check out. I’d recommend this as a rental if you’re curious, as I could see this being somewhat of a let down if purchased for full retail.
- No online play
- Camera makes it frustrating at times to see who you’re aiming for
- Controls are easy to learn and master
- Fun to play in spurts
- Classic Worms gameplay
- Between the single player campaign, in-game achievements, multiplayer and even customizing your character there is a lot to do.