The Worms series has been around for a long time now, and the series has been ported to pretty much every gaming system imaginable. Of course, with all the different Worms games out there, it’s only natural that a fair number of them will be stinkers, which was definitely the case with the first Open Warfare game for the DS. Poor presentation, limited options, and buggy gameplay meant the game really wasn’t what fans of a portable Worms game were after. Luckily for them, however, the sequel does exactly what a sequel should: namely, improve on its predecessor.
Open Warfare 2 is, at its core, a solid adaptation of the classic Worms gameplay. You control a team of up to four Worms, and face off against other teams on a 2D destructible level, using a variety of (often hilarious) weapons and tactics. The game’s turn-based gameplay is pretty addictive, and has (thankfully) been replicated well here. Whether you’re moving around, aiming or switching weapons, or jumping about, you’ll find the controls are well thought out and as responsive as they need to be. In fact, almost every part of the gameplay captures the Worms ‘feel’, making matches a joy to play.
But there are two things that set Open Warfare 2 apart from other recent Worms titles. The first is the amount of customization available: considering this is a DS title, there are an impressive amount of worm voices, level types, and weapons at your disposable. Hell, there are probably twice as many things to play around with than in the recent Xbox 360 iteration.
The other novel thing about this game is the various other modes available to you – and the fact that some of them don’t actually suck. Normally, any multiplayer-based game that tries to add single-player components falls on its face (I’m looking at you, Bomberman) – but for some reason that is not the case here. The single-player campaign actually feels like a bit of effort went into it, and offers up enough different challenges and obstacles to remain entertaining. It’s not as good as the standard multiplayer matches, but it’s still good enough to warrant playing through.
The puzzle levels and the DS-specific laboratory stages are also fun distractions. The latter require you to blow on your DS to help a parachuting worm fly through a level; draw in terrain to get a worm from one side of the screen to the other; or simply use the stylus to create explosions that send your worm all over the place. Again, it’s amazing that these modes are actually good enough to justify spending time with them, and really add a lot more value to Open Warfare 2.
Of course, Worms is really all about playing against a friend or two, and this version doesn’t disappoint – for the most part. If you have friends with their own DS’s and copies of the game, you’ll be able to play fully customizable matches that are as fun as you’d expect them to be. If they don’t own the game, you’ll still be able to play against them, but only on a random map. You can also take your worms online via a wi-fi connection, and can play against specific people if you have their friend codes, or against random people if you don’t.
While the graphics are certainly less polished than what you’d find in the PSP version, they still retain the typical Worms feel. In any case, you’ll soon stop noticing any rough patches as your enemy fire punches you off the edge of the map. Essentially, this is a good, solid Worms experience that, despite being a little rough around the edges, is well worth purchasing if you’re feeling the need for a bit of wormage on the go. If you call yourself a Worms fan, you should seriously consider getting this one.