The Worms series is an on-going franchise that has existed for over a dozen years now. Worms was the title that allowed developer, Team 17, to rise to fame. To date, the series has amassed sales of over 12 million units, and that's a pretty fantastic achievement for a, largely, turn-based simplistic strategy game. Last year, THQ published Team 17's Worms: Open Warfare for the PSP and Nintendo DS, and now they're both proudly bringing us the follow-up. Open Warfare 2 continues the franchises' streak of quality, and it's definitely a game fans of strategy titles will love.
Don't be fooled by the 'strategy' label, as Worms: OW 2 is a very easily accessible game. It's simplicity is what makes it very user friendly, while at the same time making is awfully addictive. The game's concept is simple, and explained rather well when using the in-game tutorials. You'll have two teams of five worms, with two health bars on top representing the overall shape of each team, as well as individual health bars per worm. Each worm has a total of 100 health points.
Attacking is performed on a turn-based policy. You have 60 seconds to make a decision – once you select an attack or move to perform, most of your time will drain instantly and the turn will be complete. Certain actions will drain a different amount of the time, but most will drain it just about full. Each match also has a set time limit; it's usually a gracious amount of time, so don't worry.
Your range of firepower will vary from fire punches, dragon ball, shotguns, uzis, machine guns, grenades, homing missile, dynamite, bunker buster, air-strikes, the electro magnet, exploding sheep, kamikaze, cluster bomb, mine and much more. There's a fantastic line of artillery you can use for your attacks, as you can see. Furthermore, when it comes down to mobility, there's also a list of other toys such as teleporter, jet pack, boomerang, ninja rope, and the parachute that you can utilize.
Clearly, each weapon or attack will have varying degrees of damage, and proximity will also be an issue. Your aim doesn't have to be precise, but you'll get rewarded with a stronger hit if it is. Moreover, sometimes using proximity to deal damage can come to an advantage in many cases. If you throw a grenade, as opposed to throwing it right on your target, you can position it a certain way that, upon explosion, will hurl your enemy into the water (if present), to his demise.
So if the enemy is standing near the right edge of the screen, with water below, toss an explosive to land to the left of the worm. It makes for a great way to score a quick kill. You can also use this tactic to fling the enemy downwards to the ground, which doesn't kill the worm, but it will take additional damage. The more you play Worms, the more you'll pick up on the little intricacies of the game.
You can opt to play the game in short quick blast sessions via Puzzle Mode, or you can venture out on an entire career in the Campaign Mode. If you set forth on a campaign, you'll then be allowed to customize your entire Worms squad, right down to the language they speak. I only expected to see a few available languages, but the guys at Team 17 threw in tons of them. Hell, I even found Russian! And to my complete surprise, everything those cute little warmongering Worms were saying was accurate – so I can only assume the other languages are too.
There's a variety of other modes too, such as Race Mode and Forts Mode. But I think it's the online mode that'll find the most play time from those who pick up Worms: Open Warfare 2, simply because it's an actual online mode. That's right, you can play Worms: OW2 against anyone in the world, so you're not limited to just ad-hoc mode, forced to have a friend next to you. Any ways, when you're online and playing against your opponent, feel free to plug in the PSP headset or any PSP compatible headset, to chat with your friends and foes. Up to four people can partake in the fun.
While Worms: OW2 doesn't feature any eye-popping visuals, it's still a good looking game with some pretty cute visuals. The environments on which you battle on are fully destructible. So when you're exploding something, or even taking a blast with a shotgun, you'll destroy chunks of the land around the impact. You can use this to your advantage, by drilling a hole below your enemy, forcing him to fall down to your level. The game takes place on a two-dimensional plane, with polygonal characters on screen, and a field composed of sprites. The overall look is quite satisfying and very pleasing on the eyes. Lastly, thanks to the simplicity, framerates and such aren't anything to worry about here.
As I mentioned before, Worms: OW2 allows you to customize the language that your squad speaks, and there's a multitude to choose from. I went with Russian, and I was extremely surprised to see that they didn't just speak English with a Russian accent, but they actually spoke Russian! It added a whole lot of extra charm to the game, and that's a big plus. Aside from that, sound effects like explosions and such will be the most common sounds you here.
If you're a big fan of strategy games, then I strongly urge you to take a look at Worms: Open Warfare 2. Team 17 has crafted yet another entry into this fine franchise, and the overall results are nothing short of solid. Worms is a highly simplistic, yet very addictive and engaging strategy game that is sure to have you coming back to it very, frequently. And with a price tag of only $30, it makes the purchase all that much easier