Rating: ESRB – Teen
Worms Forts: Under Siege (WFUS) is the sixth in the series from Team 17 released on PC. It is also the second iteration of the Worms franchise sporting full 3D graphics. Thinking out of the box, Team 17 has gone one up and released this with a slightly different concept from the traditional Worms game – instead of playing an all-out battle between several groups of cute worms on totally randomized maps, you must now plan and build your own forts starting from several stock 3D maps. You attack your enemies by either decimating their team (the traditional way), or by destroying their stronghold – the most important building of your fortification.
I wouldn’t call the different game play style in WFUS to be a gimmick or an attempt to copy a concept from another genre, but nevertheless it is a bold attempt that takes the previous game Worms 3D in a new direction.
The cuteness and charm of Worms is still present in this game, but the 3D problems from Worms 3D, plus the tediousness of game play in WFUS, as well as it’s snail pace, makes this a harder game to appreciate.
|I’m worming my way out of this|
WFUS provides a good single player experience, as well as a great multiplayer mode by letting up to 4 players play the game on a single PC. If you don’t intend to play a party game on your PC, you could theoretically go online (or on LAN) to play a round of this game. I used the word theoretical because I saw no one on Gamespy to play this game with after two nights of giving it a spin.
Well then, let’s cover the single player experience instead. Single player provides for some interesting game play and options which will keep you occupied for some time.
|Let’s end the mission tutorial series|
You have the following choices in Single Player mode:
- Play Quick Game – this uses default settings and places you into the thick of things. Use this when you have at least completed the tutorial.
- Play Tutorial – there are 5 missions in the tutorial series. I will explain the tutorials later in the review.
- Campaign Mode – the campaign mode is where you will have to conquer 20 missions that brings you through four worlds of cool fun: the Egyptians levels, the Greek levels, the Oriental levels, and finally the Medieval levels.
|Many buildings to add to your fort|
- The Trials has you going against a team of AI worms. There are quite a number of missions to try out here, so go for it! I had quite a lot of fun here as well.
- Viewing Gallery – From here you can access the unlockables screen to see what you have or have not yet unlocked. You can watch your unlocked movies and even read a useful encyclopedia called Fortopedia, which contains useful Worms lore.
|Here I am, firing my refrigerator on a catapult|
The tutorials teach you how to control a worm to navigate round the 3D world. You will meet the biggest problems of WFUS here:
- Firstly, the movement controls are sluggish; you truly move at a worm’s pace (pun intended). When playing a game, you will have only a minute to complete whatever you want your worm to do, but it really is a pain when you worm can only move so slowly.
- The next problem would be the camera controls – be careful with sudden movements of your mouse for you may wind up in an irritating slow spin of your world’s view.
- Of course, try not to move and shift your viewpoint at the same time. You will only wind up all dizzy and highly frustrated.
- I don’t understand the need for back-flips, why complicate movement? They should not have implemented such a feature.
You also get to learn about the various building options available in WFUS. The most important building is your stronghold. It is game over if it gets destroyed.
You can build other buildings adjacent to your existing buildings. The tip here is to try and build buildings where a star resides. These stars award you victory points. Victory points allow you to build more advanced buildings such as the hospital, the laboratory, and even Wonders which give you godly powers to employ against your enemies – imagine raising a flood to drown everyone not on high ground!
|Now I’m drowning in the flood…|
There are some issues with buildings as well:
- Placing buildings can be quite tedious – your view may get blocked by landscape structures.
- Cycling through adjacent locations can also be quite a chore. I can never get the right key presses to move to an obscure location to build my tower.
- The game adds another layer of complexity by allowing only certain weapons to be deployed in certain buildings.
- And, the wall that links two adjacent buildings are the most vulnerable part of your fortification. Here’s an obvious tip, don’t build your fortification in a straight line; if the link between your stronghold and the rest of the chain is destroyed, you will lose everything that you spent so much time to build.
|The start of a mission in the Campaign mode|
The best part of WFUS must be the cute worms employing outlandish weapons against each other. Crates are dropped now and then during the game. These hold weapons that you must grab at the first opportunity before the enemy teams beat you to them.
There are quite a number of weapons available in the game: from the simple fire punch to the grenade, to the fierce ballista and giant crossbow, to the potent bazooka and rocket launcher, and finally to the all powerful air strike and napalm strike.
There are also weapons that form the weird category such as the Chilli con Carnage, the Fridge Launcher, the Rhino, the Old Woman, and the Super Hippo. You will get a great laugh when you launch these… I leave it to you to discover them for yourself.
You may even find a couple of useful utilities that you should employ in the game. Freeze helps to protect your buildings and worms from grievous hurt, Parachute allows your worm to survive a fall from a great height, and a Repair helps to patch your damaged buildings. The most useful of all the utilities though must be the Jet Pack; I like to use them to get real close to my enemy’s fort.
|Gotta launch my 50 Stone Canary now|
Multiplayer mode allows you to configure a game for up to 4 teams on a landscape of your choice with the required options that you wish to play with. You can include AI enemy teams if you so desire, and even tweak each of the teams with customised voices and fanfares, animations, gravestones, hats, and more.
There are many options to choose from in WFUS that you will be shocked by the amount of variations available to you. If you feel daunted by all the choices, you may even let the Fortpot, a jackpot that randomly determines the game options for you. The Fortpot has three reels that will show you what type of game you will be playing.
|Time to fight|
For example, the Fortpot gave me the amusing combination of Crates Galore, Wind Affects All, and Rhino-a-go-go on its three reels. They translate to the following match rules – there will be tons of crates dropped onto the map, the wind affects the trajectory of all weapons, and a rhino is spawned whenever a crate is destroyed by a weapon. I really had a lot of fun with this combo.
|Multiplayer configuration time|
Before ending the review, let’s talk about the movies, voicework and sound effects, and music.
The movies are really amusing and feature comical over-the-top violence. The minus side to the movies are that most of them are quite short.
The sound effects are alright; they are overshadowed by the star attraction in WFUS – the voicework. I absolutely loved the zany American Suicidal Businessman as well as the outrageous Drill Sergeant. Their voices are higher pitched and the one-liners they blabber are hilariously funny.
|Another day, another battle|
In summary, Worms Forts: Under Siege is a game containing some great stuff within; there is an interesting campaign, a marvelous multiplayer mode (played on a single PC because of the turn based implementation), and great game play destroying your opponent’s team, buildings, or strongholds. Unfortunately, you will just have to put up with the cumbersome 3D movement control scheme as well as the camera problems.
For those who own this game already, what do you think? Would you agree with my assessment of the game? Have you completed the campaign mode? Or have you ever experienced any other Worms games before?