Malcolm Owen On June 9, 2002 at 1:06 pm

Has anyone really done a scientific analysis of how long it takes for a game series to become old hat? I doubt it. Team17 seem to be taking the Worms ideology and stretching it further than anyone would possibly do. Worms (all of the incarnations of which), Worms Pinball, and even Worms Armageddon could be looked at as a tired storyline, but Team17 are bringing it to almost breaking point with Worms Blast.

The only way to describe the game is "Bust a Move" with gravity, but even then it’s wrong to a point. You, as a small worm (Or any other character that can be chosen) are in a boat, on some water, armed with a big gun. There are some "Fruit Blocks" above you, in a variety of colours, which, using the various coloured ammo supplied with your big weapon, you must shoot the same coloured blocks as the ammo’s colour happens to be, in which case if successful, the blocks will blow up and release fruits to fill up the energy bar, and possibly also drop other unsupported blocks, which while aiding your attempt to clear the board, you must also avoid if you want to stay alive. If you miss any similar coloured blocks, then the blocks surrounding where you hit turn the same colour. This can ruin well-designed plans as easily as you can die.

Falling blocks cause damage to you, and so does firing your coloured shell and hitting yourself, as if your energy bar hits zero, you are out. It’s a strange concept, but it works well. Indeed, it is not only the blocks and ammo you have to worry about. If you are stupid enough to allow a shell to fall into the water and it hits a fish down below, it blows up. If you shoot off the edge of the playing area, a suitably heavy "Acme" object falls from the sky in an attempt to hurt you. Fortunately, you have about a second to get the hell out of the way, which is just long enough to avoid a good smack around the face with a nice anvil.
One extremely nice feature is the water itself. Aside from the water level changing depending on your gameplay, you can also expect to witness severe rippling. I have to call it severe, as you are in a boat that happens to float so aiming is made harder by the up-and-down way you move while stationary. Falling blocks and anvils make large waves when they plunge into the murky depths, severely impeding your ability to aim accurately quickly.

The modes of play are the usual "Island Hopping" (Go from island to island completing puzzles along the way), challenges (Target ranges/high score rounds) and multiplayer. This last option is probably the best part of it all. Although you can only play against someone on the same machine, it adds to the party atmosphere it is trying to promote. No online play is available, which is probably a good thing, as you don’t want those waves to be lagged while you take your shot! Two player consists of half a screen each, and a dividing wall. The blocks above must be hit like before, the more you get the more your opponent suffers and so on, but the partition opens up at random times, allowing for quick attacks of your opponent’s blocks, or if you are extremely careful, the opponent themselves.

This game is fun in every way. It is an excellent after-pub game, perfect for quick blasts and long stretches alike. If only people would shake off the stigma of Puzzle Bobble they think it has…


Puzzle Bobble, but better. Multiplayer Good but needs expansion


Cutesy 2D with 3D elements thrown in for good measure


It’s almost kid like. Wisecracks from the characters are laboured


I am reminded of Worms World Party, but it’s not. Well done!

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