Worms 2: Armageddon in Review – The Worms are back for more pocket-sized mayhem

Of all of my university years, probably the two games I have most fond memories of are Heroes of Might and Magic III (which already have seen an iResurrection as Palm Heroes (TMA Review) ) and Worms 2: Armageddon. Ah, those hours upon hours spent in the dorm with my buddies, a couple of crates of beer and Worms 2 instead of wasting time on stupid old lectures… And when I saw this classic pop up again recently on the App Store, tears of nostalgia built up inside me.

While the lineage of Worms can be traced back to the Basic classic – Gorillas, I think it’s safe to say Team 17 revolutionized artillery games back in 1995. When WORMS (TMA Review) was released for the iPhone, however, it was a bit late to the punch and received mixed reviews, with lack of customization, performance issues and lack of online multiplayer noted as the major issues. Team 17 had more than a year to do their homework, so let’s see how they did.

First of all, if by chance you’re not familiar with the genre – artillery games involve 2 or more teams positioned on a map, who try to eliminate each other using various weapons. In the case of Worms 2 the teams, incidentally, are made up of up to 4 worms. The teams go in turn to wreak mayhem on the enemy. In the case of playing against the AI though, you get every other turn, with all computer controlled worms on the level being virtually a single opposing team. They don’t get extra turns for each team and don’t fire on one another… what a bummer.

Worms 2 wouldn’t be worms without an array of deadly and hilarious weaponry. We have the whole arsenal including the Super Sheep, the Holy Hand Grenade and dreaded Banana Bomb, along with some fresh faces, including the Bunker Destroyer and the Thunderstorm. There’s even some non-combat equipment for helping your worms along, like the ninja rope, the teleporter and the jet pack. With all of this goodness, quite frustrating was the very strict timer for making the move, where only 45 seconds are allowed on Normal difficulty. Another thing I felt missing was in-game information on the weapons available; in many cases I had to rely on my previous experiences.

For those who complained that online multiplayer was missing from the first Worms game on the iPhone, you’ll be happy to know that Team 17 has addressed this issue and it’s now a reality with Armageddon. The devs built in support for multiplayer via Bluetooth (4 players) and Wi-Fi (2 players), though even the latter requires a direct and constant connection to the host of the game, which is not realistic in many instances. Some kind of centralized handling of the multiplayer sessions would add a lot to the game. It is also worth noting that finding any open online games is not always easy and connecting to one when it’s available could be met with connection failures more often than not. Even so, it’s nice to finally be able to go head-to-head against other players from around the world (when it does work).

Visually, especially after the recent update, Worms 2 looks gorgeous on my iPhone 4. The Retina-support allows gamers to have an excellent perspective on the whole level even at max zoom out. And the overall graphics style is faithful to the classic PC-game, with an added bonus of customizable head-pieces and tombstones for your worms. The ambient music works well and you can choose a voice theme for your worms for that extra kick. The controls are… controversial. They seem to work more or less well once you get used to them, but the learning curve is slightly steep. A tutorial for mastering them would be nice, but sadly it’s completely lacking, even in the Campaign mode.

Despite the minor flaws Worms 2: Armageddon is the epiphany of the series and to finally get it on the iDevice is pure joy. The superb authentic graphics and audio bring back tears of nostalgia and if I were still in university, I know what we would spend our time on during those boring lectures. I do wish the developers would raise, or possibly add an option to completely turn off move and round timers, at least in single player. Regardless, if you’re looking for a top-of-line artillery game, look no further than Worms 2: Armageddon – it is sure to provide you hours of enjoyment. It’s also a universal app, which is always a nice bonus!

With this I declarer Worms 2: Armageddon officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Worms 2: ArmageddonDeveloper: Team17 Software Ltd
Reviewed Ver:1.02Min OS Req:3.1.3
Price:$4.99App Size:211.62MB
  • Beautiful authentic Worms 2 graphics with full Retina support
  • Thorough team customization options
  • Campaign mode across 5 distinct environments
  • No GameCenter integration
  • No tutorial for controls
  • Very strict move timer
  • Poor in-game weapon information

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