If you’re a fan of the genre then you’ll love (insert game title here)… is a tag line that many game journalists are guilty of using when summing up a game that straddles the uneasy ground of mediocre gaming. Worms for the iPhone, oddly enough, likes to play its cards differently – if you loved any of the original Worms games then you’ll most definitely find yourself weeping into your iDevice over some of the awkward and messy touchscreen controls. If, however, you represent that small percentage of gamers who’ve yet to experience the joy of flinging exploding sheep around a fully destructible landscape, then Worms for the iPhone is actually a fairly decent experience.
Team 17’s decision to port a modern iteration of Worms to the iPhone seems like a curious one indeed. The unnecessarily glamorous particle effects, that choke the frame rate at every turn, leave us questioning why the developers didn’t choose to bring an older, simpler rendition of the series to the App store. Having a slick visual style is something that every Worms game has always played off on, but having the action play out on such a small screen means most of the finer touches of detail end up getting lost with a camera that just fails to zoom in far enough.
With a full roster of weapons at your disposal it’s easy to get excited about reliving those wondrous days of dropping dynamite off the end of a ninja rope before swinging into safety as the carnage unfolds around you. Sadly the as mentioned awkward touchscreen controls mean anything but the simplest manoeuvre will leave you catapulting your own worm off into the sea. Thankfully the basic weaponry (hand grenades, bazooka, dragon punch) all work as expected and that same grin-whilst-execute feeling is apparent throughout the game as you work out new and exciting ways to obliterate your foes.
If you can learn to restrict how you play Worms then there is a decent enough game to be had amidst the choppy frame rate and fiddly controls. A stripped down version that could (and should) have been every Worms fan’s dream portable title will almost definitely infuriate the hardcore loyalist but give this to some one who’s new to the series and you’ll see a smile spread across their face, reminding you of why Worms still remains one of the greatest living gaming franchises.