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Worms Forts 3D


For: Mobile

A brave new approach to an explosive original, this is quite literally the worm that turned...

Product: Worms Forts 3D | Developer: Gimme5games | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: 3D, Multiplayer, Strategy | Players: 1-2 | Networking: on one device | Format: J2ME | File size: 104 Kb | Reviewed on: W550i other handsets | Version: Europe
 
Worms Forts 3D Mobile, thumbnail 1
We adore innovation at Pocket Gamer; we revel in clever ideas and new ways of playing games and we even award all of our games an innovation score. However, even we believe that there are times when you have to hold to the adage if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Take the wheel for instance. Okay, so it’s evolved a little since the first rounded stone rolled off the production lines, but the fundamentals of a rounded object attached to some sort of axle has endured relatively well over the years without anyone feeling the need to suggest that ‘maybe a flattened edge would be worth a go’.

Though perhaps less influential in the progress of mankind, in the realm of video games Worms has proven to have similarly sound fundamentals. The essential experience of controlling miniature pink characters, who take it in turns to fire increasingly ludicrous high-calibre weaponry at each other until there’s only one left standing, has endured virtually unchanged for many years. So why on earth would you muck around with it and risk breaking the whole thing?

That’s exactly the question you’ll find yourself asking after the first few minutes of playing Worms Forts 3D. Whilst at first sight it's undeniably appealing (the 2D worms are fantastically animated, the 3D levels and backgrounds superb), and there’s immediate familiarity in the form of two teams of pink wriggly fellas firing outrageous weaponry (including The Moose, Super Hippo and Little old lady guns) at each other, it soon becomes clear that the ability to construct buildings has changed the game dynamic dramatically.

You see, the presence of these buildings makes it considerably more difficult to hit the opposing worms, something which is hardly helped by a nicely animated, but tricky to judge, firing system. Admittedly, you do get to destroy the structures (which is both satisfying and strategically important), but disappointingly the worms standing next to them are not adversely affected, nor, it seems, is the 3D landscape, which merely blackens under fire, replacing the huge craters of the original version. Now, intensify these frustrations with a bizarrely limited supply of decent weaponry in the first few levels and the fact that games tend to descend into rather tiresome wars of attrition between ill-judged bazooka and grenade attacks, it’s understandable that many will dismiss Worms Forts 3D after just a few minutes' play.

Those that persist, however, will find their patience well rewarded, as beneath the rather grubby opening levels lies something of a strategy gem. As subsequent levels are unlocked (there are 20 in total) they bring with them an ever more imaginative raft of weaponry and open up a wealth of tactical options. Rather than a hit-and-hope approach, you are genuinely able to construct your own strategy which might not exclusively include the obliteration of your pink opponents - you can also win the game by destroying the opponent's HQ (something more powerful weapons make a viable option) or by constructing a ‘wonder’ and keeping it intact for 3 turns.

The buildings themselves become more crucial, too. As certain weapons can only be fired from certain towers and some structures offer advanced features such as increasing weapon power or triggering the dropping of additional weapon crates, both the order and position of your construction will have an effect on your strategy. The terrain itself simultaneously becomes more important as flat, un-scorched earth is required to build on, so you can chose to block enemy construction by attacking the ground itself.

Admittedly this tactical depth isn’t always in evidence against the AI opponent - you can breeze through most levels by sticking to one basic approach and relying on air strikes to mop-up - but take on a fellow human commander and battles can take on truly epic proportions.

With a more logical learning curve, a better balancing of weapons and a tighter firing system, Worms Forts 3D could have been an essential addition to the Worms canon and a brilliant exception to our rule of meddling with perfection. As it stands, however, this has to be seen as an experimental purchase for most Pocket Gamers, one which will yield the greatest reward to those who can engage mobile-gaming chums, want to show off the graphical prowess of their handset or just fancy a bit of variety from the original Worms game.
 
Worms Forts 3D
Reviewer photo
Chris James | 28 January 2006
An ambitious extension to the Worms series that looks great but is a little unbalanced
 
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