Despite not having as many fresh features as you’d want, those who have somebody to play with should seriously consider getting a copy of Worms: Battle Islands.
For years, the platoons of worms have been at war, and as their commander, you needed to use some wacky weapons to defeat the opposing team of invertebrates as fast and effectively as possible. Worms: Battle Islands is a portable version that follows the same simple premise and despite not having as many fresh features as you’d want, those who have somebody to play with should seriously consider getting a copy of this game.
Right from the get go, you’ll notice the healthy number of modes, including versus where up to four players can participate using the same console, online multiplayer where you can play with people from all over the world and mission mode where you have access to all the single-player content (this includes training mode, the campaign and puzzles.)
So one of the best additions is online multiplayer, but it’s worth mentioning that this mode was powered by GameSpy, so if you were looking forward to playing online against people from other parts of the world, you’re going to be sorely disappointed since all the servers are long gone. Nevertheless, if you have at least one friend to play with, you can play locally and the best part is that you only need a PSP and a copy of the game.
In the campaign mode, you choose your base of operations, face a series of themed teams and as you progress, you go up in rank. There are also jetpack races, challenges, timed encounters and so on. To be honest, I didn’t have much fun playing the single-player portion of the game and when you think about it, this is more than understandable since Worms has always been about playing against other people. The AI isn’t very good (it makes poor decisions, such as throwing bombs on its worms,) so you can’t compare the experience of playing the game against the computer instead of playing against a friend. Additionally, most of the missions in the campaign seldom deviate from “kill all the other members of the team”, so I got bored after playing a few missions.
Overall, there are around forty weapons and artillery resources at your disposal. Fan favorites (bazooka, grenade, sheep and baseball bat) are all here, as well as some new ones (concrete donkey, buffalo of lies, super sheep and dragon ball.) As anyone who played a Worms game before knows, some shots and projectiles are affected by the wind and the environments are completely destructible.
As usual, there are some customization options, so you can change the name, aspect, victory dances, flags and voices of worms which doesn’t sound like a substantial feature, but this is a fun diversion. Additionally, a powerful editor lets you build your own weapons and create your own levels which once saved, you can use them in multiplayer battles. The customization options are fully comprehensible and while I just spent a few minutes trying to create landscapes of my own, more talented players will be able to craft some amazing levels using this editor. Apart from your maps, you can also tweak the aesthetic of your worms, weapons and even some of the available modes.
So in case you were wondering, Team 17 hasn’t ruined Worms. For better or for worse, this is the Worms you remember and while some new features are impressive (that includes the single-player campaign and all the customization options,) this is the kind of game that truly shines when you have a friend or couple of friends to compete against locally. It’s a shame that the online mode is no longer supported and that the game can be bland if you don’t have anyone to play with, but Worms: Battle Islands doesn’t ruin what made the franchise successful.