reviews\ Oct 29, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Worms Blast - PC - Review

I really enjoyed the earlier Worms titles: games like Worms Armageddon was the perfect party game to spend all night playing with your buddies.  It was turn-based, where you controlled your team of worms on a large, destructible stage, trying to eliminate your opponents with crazy, inventive weapons.  The game was very fun, and had tons of replayability.  I was rather disappointed when I heard that Worms Blast would not be another traditional title to continue the series, but rather, a puzzle game.  In fact, I wasn't expecting the game to be good at all, just another Bust-A-Move clone to earn some money from the franchise.


Boy, was I ever wrong.  Blast is probably the most fun I've had with a puzzle title in a long time.  There are a lot of different modes to play, ranging from Puzzle, to Tournament, to matches between the PC or multiplayer with someone else.  Puzzle mode is easily the longest of the bunch, with dozens of levels for you to conquer, always adding a twist to spice up play.  Other modes and characters can be unlocked through Puzzle mode as well.  Tournament isn't exactly a tournament, but rather a high-score challenge in which you can participate in.  There are about eight modes available from the beginning, and more can be unlocked.


The game involves your character in a tiny boat at the bottom of the screen.  He can go across the water from left to right, change the angle of his gun, and how powerful he plans to launch his ammunition.  It controls just like previous Worms games, and it works perfectly.  The only time it will get in the way is when you need to turn around sharply and shoot quickly; which, luckily, is not very often.  Basically, you use your bazooka to shoot at the blocks overhead.  Your bazooka will cycle through different colored ammunition, changing after each shot.  When a missile hits a block of the same color, that color disappears, and any other colored blocks hanging underneath will fall into the sea, as will stars or item boxes resting there.  If you're hit by falling blocks, you lose a bit of health - lose it all, and it's game over.  All the while these blocks are slowly dropping towards the water, and it's the end if your boat gets trapped under them.


That's the basic premise that you'll be playing throughout the versus mode against the computer or a friend, and it really is fun.  Every now and then a hole appears in the line splitting the screen, and you can shoot missiles at each other.  There are also other weapons that can be acquired from the item boxes, which adds a nice touch of Worms atmosphere.  There are variations on this mode, as well: basic deathmatch, star collection, and another where your water level may rise unless you collect stars to lower it.  All of them are rather inventive and fun.  Multiplayer is definitely a strong point of Worms Blast.


The Puzzle mode features dozens of different puzzles, each with a different twist.  Some have quickly falling blocks you must shoot, others have a line of blocks that drops each time you shoot, and so forth and so on.  It starts off easy, but gets really tough in a matter of a few levels.  If you can make it through all of these, you can definitely consider yourself a master.  Puzzle mode also happens to unlock other cool modes and characters, such as the elusive exploding sheep (gotta love that guy).  It's enough to keep anyone busy for hours upon hours.


The graphics of Blast work well, with sharp, crisp 2D graphics showing off the blocks, and a wonderfully drawn background.  The water and characters are actually 3D, and have sort of a cel-shaded look.  The water animates beautifully, with everything that hits the water causing ripples and waves that send you upwards for a moment.  The sound works well, too.  It's rather cheery and fitting, kind of tropical, like the game's theme itself, although it could probably get annoying after a long enough period of time.  The voices are great, as always: you can expect the worms to say something funny here and there in their smurfy voices.  Good stuff all around.


Worms Blast is definitely a fun surprise, and although it may not be like previous Worms titles, it incorporates elements from previous games in quite innovative ways.  The control is great and unique, the modes are plentiful, and the multiplayer mode is a lot of fun.  What more do you want?  An actual Worms game? Well, you'll have to wait some more for that.  This title ought to keep you busy until Team-17 gets around to developing a proper sequel.



Gameplay: 8.5

I feel confident saying Worms Blast is full of fun; one of the best puzzle games I've come across in a good while.  The initial gameplay may seem simple, but there are so many twists that it will take a long time to get tired of this game.


Graphics: 8.5

Simple and elegant are the best two words available to describe the graphics in Worms Blast.  The backgrounds in the levels are very cool hand-drawn works of art, the blocks are all easy to recognize, and the water effects are great.  Nothing extremely flashy to be had, except for the occasional nifty wave effect.


Sound: 8.0

Worms Blast features some decent music, rather cheery and enjoyable. The voices are well-done in traditional Worms fashion, and won't disappoint fans of previous games.


Difficulty: Medium

It's easy to hop into the game, but there are so many twists in puzzle mode, let alone all of the other modes, that it will take a long time to master.


Concept: 8.5

I admit I was a little skeptical of the game's ingenuity; it looked like another Bust-A-Move clone.  You can bet I was pretty surprised when I found how well the Worms control scheme works, all the crazy modes, and even how well different weapons translated to the game.  It's a rare time when I can say that this is a great spin-off and a very fine puzzle game.


Multiplayer: 9.0

Multiplayer mode is great in Worms Blast.  You have to share the keyboard, but it works quite well since there are only about six keys each person needs.  The game runs well, with quite a few different modes to test out, and of course various ways to annoy your opponent.  Fun!


Overall: 8.5

I seriously wasn't expecting much from Worms Blast, but what I found was a great puzzle game that works hand-in-hand with the other Worms titles.  Multiplayer mode is really fun and the puzzles will keep you busy for a long time.  Check it out.


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