Developer: Team17
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.02
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5, iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Worms is a hard game to screw up. The whole “Artillery” concept is just a winner. Ever since the days of Tank WarsScorched Earth, and yes, the Wormsseries, the innate strategic chaos of the genre is all-but-guaranteed to lead to fun times for all. Just keep the core of the game straight, and we’ll all be okay. Worms 3 comes awfully close with some elements that seem iffy at first, but thankfully they’re only small additions to an already-great formula.

Worms3-13The heart of the game is awfully familiar: teams of four worms each take turns battling with goofy weapons on environments made of destructible terrain. All the familiar tools of destruction are here: there’s the standard bazookas, grenades, and air strikes, of course. But as well, sheep, bananas, and holy hand grenades make a comeback.

The big changes are the addition of squads and cards. Now when customizing a team of worms, including their voices, names, and appearance, each worm can be made into one of four unit types. There’s the standard soldier worm, a beefier heavy worm, a more agile scout worm, and an auto-healing support worm, the scientist.

The cards could have ruined Worms 3 but thankfully only play a limited role. Players can outfit a deck of cards before or after their turn that either provide benefits like more jetpack fuel, or modify the environment. Now, these are consumable cards that are purchased with in-game coins, and I know what immediately comes to mind: “ugh, yet another IAP trap!”

Good news: coins have to be earned, either by picking up crates or by completing single-player levels. It’s about as inoffensive an implementation as possible of a card-based system. The one IAP in the game at all is just a $0.99 level skip.

Worms3-7There’s an online multiplayer mode as well that boasts turn-based play, with the ability to play a variety of game types. It requires a proprietary user account to play, but there’s Facebook Connect to quickly create an account and log in with one tap. It’s turn-based Worms and it works exactly as one expects. There’s still local multiplayer, including a neat AirPlay-powered mode where the action is displayed on the TV screen, but the individual player’s inventory is kept secret on the device itself.

Single-player has twenty-odd scenarios to take on, a quick game against the computer, and a fun survival mode where it’s one player-controlled worm versus increasingly-tough spawning enemy hordes. That’s the one I keep coming back to for single-player: it’s great practice for the many scenarios that pop up and is great for pick-up-and-play gaming. The controls are passable – there’s virtual buttons and touch controls, the latter feeling generally more accurate, especially as the virtual d-pad was occasionally unresponsive.

Worms 3 doesn’t rock the boat too much, which is a very good thing. The classic gameplay still rocks.

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