Just You Wait: Worms turns 25

Plus a trio of annelid classics coming to Evercade

When I was a kid, I used to be really into Worms. Not the annelid, of course, I mean the Team 17 artillery game in which a collection of wriggly wrascals annihilate one another with hilarious weapons such as – pfft – explosive sheep – snrk – banana bombs and – titter – napalm strikes! Wait, that last one wasn’t very funny at all!

My B.F.F 4eva used to have a worm on his squad named “Redclaw”. Yes, we were very invested in our Worms, giving them personalities and backstories, often in hastily-scrawled comic form. As a kid, I thought Redclaw was a cool name, but not to be outdone, I created my own Worm named Goldclaws. See, gold is better than red, and multiple claws are better than one. Goldclaws, period. I claimed at the time to have come up with this character independently and without foreknowledge of Redclaw, but that was just a big lie. Obviously I ripped it off. Sorry, mate.

Anyway, yes, Worms. It’s brain tape since small times. And now it’s 25 years old, which is weird because it honestly seems older than that, possibly because they’ve made so goshdarn many of them. And despite this omnipresence, many agree that the series peaked with 1998’s Worms Armageddon, a feature-rich but deeply accessible take on the base game that’s still supported to this day.

Sadly, in my opinion, it was diminishing returns after this, with a divisive venture into three dimensions in the creatively-titled Worms 3D, and a succession of traditional series entries that while fun added very little to the proceedings. But the continued brilliance of Worms Armageddon means that the series has never really been out of the limelight. Unlike worms themselves, which prefer the dark.

A new, battle royale-ish game has been announced to mark this anniversary, but more interestingly, so has a new Evercade cartridge – yes, another one, already! This one packs the Mega Drive version of Worms, PlayStation version of the venerable Worms Armageddon, and the Game Boy Advance version of action-puzzler Worms Blast. A good set, though if I’m picking nits I’d ask why the Mega Drive Worms if PlayStation is on the table. Possibly space reasons? Maybe it’s lacking hot-seat multiplayer? I’m sure there’s a good reason, and it’s not like Mega Drive Worms is bad. Perhaps it’s simply better than the PlayStation version! Worms Blast is a deep cut, too, typical of the Evercade. It’s a much harder variant of Puzzle Bobble, and well worth a look.

It feels like new carts are being announced for the Evercade all the time, and I’m okay with that because I really am fond of the thing. It’s so refreshing to see a system with a library that isn’t just the same-old, same-old stuff. Even the things you’d expect to be very familiar, like the Namco carts, are full of cool, esoteric stuff like Splatterhouse 2, Weaponlord and Libble Rabble. And now this lovely little selection of Worms games. That isn’t out until next May. Presumably to celebrate the end of covid. You heard it here first, folks!