Worms is probably older than you are, yet Team 17 manages to come up with ways of refreshing the series with each sequel, and A Space Oddity has more than a few new tricks up its sleeve.
Those little worms of warfare have crash-landed on an alien planet, causing their ship to smash into pieces, so they have to make like Olimar and recover them all, with the help of missiles and grenades, (not Pikmin, obviously).
The single player-quest unfolds over six worlds, each with six missions. The twist here is that each world has its own physical properties that affect the gameplay during battle. So, for example, one planet is full of caverns where there's no wind, so you needn't worry about a gust affecting the trajectory of your missiles. Another planet has low gravity, so not only can you jump higher, but your weapons will travel further, forcing you to adjust the power levels you put into shots. If that sounds quite difficult, it is, and any Worms fan will know how tough it can playing against the computer - who can pull off near-impossible shots.
Luckily, a new control system makes it a little easier to launch weapons accurately - although some of the changes might go against the principles of a Worms purist.
To charge up the power in your shots, you pull the Remote back as if you're preparing to throw it. The further back you raise your arm the more the power increases. You hold the B button to lock the power in place, then you thrust your arm forward in a throwing motion and release B to launch your weapon. So, where achieving the exact amount of power you wanted was a mini challenge in itself before, now you're free to tweak the power as you wish.
Also, if you lunge your arm forward and don't let go of the B button, the game will give you a dotted-line preview of the weapon's would-be trajectory. Is that cheating? Yes it is. And there's no option to turn it off either. But it will allow beginners to get to grips with the system more easily.
There are also some sweet new weapons that use the Wii Remote in interesting ways. Using the pointer, you can summon a UFO to hover above a target, then shake the Remote up and down to fire lasers of death into the unfortunate victim. A new guided missile also lets you use the pointer to guide your package of doom to the exact point you wish.
These weapons are most satisfying when used against other human players, but, much to our surprise, there's no online mode and that's just inexcusable. It comes as an extra shock considering that online multiplayer was actually promised in the game's original unveiling.
Out Of This World?
A Space Oddity comes with the expected mini-games, including a neat rocket game in which you tilt the Remote to guide a space rocket through a cave. There's a level editor in there too, albeit a little basic. But with no online options, you won't be trying out your new levels with anyone other than mates who pay you a visit.
It's a massive shame because A Space Oddity is otherwise a really good game. The new controls are great, the new weapons work well and we like the changing worlds theme. But Worms has always been primarily fun in multiplayer, and with no online mode on offer here you're better off just getting Open Warfare 2 for your DS, which has online play and other Wi-Fi goodies
as well. All in all, it's a missed opportunity.