Lots of things make me feel old these days. Michael Owen being 27 is one. The average age at a Foo Fighter gig is another. Now it's time to add something else to that illustrious list of things that make children of the 80s feel old: Worms.
It's 13 years old. That's right, 13. It's been 13 years since British independent developer Team 17 first brought the game to the Amiga. I'm not sure what's worse - learning that or having to deal with the Emo horde at the Brixton Academy.
But just as we have to admire Grohl for consistently pumping out above-average pop-infused rock year after year, we have to give Team 17 credit where credit is due. With Worms Open Warfare 2 on the PSP, the developer has listened to the fans and acted accordingly - dragging Worms' classic infectious turn-based 2D mayhem into the 21st century.
And it's a testament to the original game that the franchise still warrants sequels to this day and, even more impressive, this has been achieved without drastically changing the way the game plays. Sure, it might look a lot nicer - that cutesy graphical style is further refined for OW2 with more impressive backgrounds and prettier explosions - and there are, as you'd expect, new weapons (11), a new customisation option, new game types and new environments, but Worms is Worms. You'll be taking turns to move the little buggers into position, then bam, enjoy that bunkerbuster.
'Multiplayer is the way Worms is meant to be played after all, and now, potentially, everyone is in your rocket launcher's sights.'
So the question here is does the game make the most of its home on the PSP following the previous iteration? The answer is a resounding yes. This is the first handheld Worms game that is playable online, which was the only thing lacking from Worms really. Through infrastructure mode, you can pick three types of game, deathmatch, race mode and fort mode. You then search from a list of available games or host your own and away you go. In theory, the ability to play against anyone anywhere in the world while on the go is fantastic, but in reality, don't expect floods of games to be available during non- peak times. But for Worms fans, you couldn't really have asked for much more. Multiplayer is the way Worms is meant to be played after all, and now, potentially, everyone is in your rocket launcher's sights.
If you haven't hooked up your PSP to the wonder that is the Interweb, the single-player offering has been fleshed out somewhat for OW2. The campaign takes you through six era-based landscapes, including WWI, WWII, Pirate and Desert Warfare. The only real reason to do the campaign is to earn points to spend in the shop. Here you can further customise your team of Worms with added colours, hats, music and victory dances. As a motivation tool, it works in a way we'd care not to delve too deep to understand. There's something very satisfying about dressing up worms in pirate costumes. And that is enough of that.
You can also buy new campaign, puzzle and time attack maps, and, best of all, new weapons. Ahh the weapons. For such a basic game, it's amazing how spectacular some of the weapons and explosions can feel. There's not much better than having a grenade land plum in the middle of two enemy worms when you've lobbed it from across the map. Boom!.
Worms on PSP is particularly well suited to gaming on the go too, especially mid-length journeys on the train or bus. OW2 has made 30-minute train journeys to Pro-G HQ fly by like the wind, and I've almost missed my stop more than once. But it's perhaps not well suited to the odd 10-minute blast. While you can turn the PSP off and the game will freeze, if you're knee-deep in Worm-like strategy, it can take while to familiarise yourself with what's going on. This isn't a slight. This is just how Worms plays.
So, whether online Worms floats your boat or it's a nostalgia trip you're after, this is the Worms game to get. At £30, it's a bit pricey for what is essentially something not much different from the last game, but with online play, Worms Open Warfare 2 has to go down as the series' definitive version.