The Worms series of strategy games isn't typically known for its cutting-edge visuals or its rich list of features and options. Worms is fun to play and it grows on you, particularly because the spectacle of tiny worms tossing grenades at one another is both violent and charming. Even so, Worms World Party for the Game Boy Advance scarcely meets average in most respects, although the core gameplay can be very fun.
The concept is great and works well on the GBA, especially in multiplayer games. Each player controls a team of worms that are armed to the teeth with bazookas, grenades, exploding sheep, and other assorted weapons. You take turns moving your worms and using them to attack the worms of the other players. The setup of the terrain and position of the worms themselves is random, but there are many other strategic elements that make the game interesting. You have to aim your weapons and set their acceleration before you fire, which adds a touch of skill to the task of lobbing grenades and launching missiles. The entire environment is interactive. You can use your weapons to clear away obstructions or to create makeshift pits to hide in. Alternatively, you have a limited number of tools, such as a blowtorch, a girder, and a bungee cord, which allow you to create your own unique pathways and shields. It's a great design, and the attack animations of each of the worms, coupled with their death cries, reward you with a sense of humorous fulfillment after every turn.
The lack of game options is the biggest hurdle to overcome. The multiplayer mode supports up to four players on a single system, which is fine since the game is turn-based, but multiplayer matches are nothing more than fights to the death with adjustable weapon and prize settings. The single-player modes include quick play, deathmatch, and mission. The deathmatch mode is passable, since you gain access to the game's entire toolkit of 56 items in a gradual manner, and the teams increase in difficulty after each successive victory. The mission mode is a good idea that just isn't executed fully. You're given a small number of items and a short time limit within which to collect a specific number of crates or kill a single enemy. This concept transforms Worms World Party into a true puzzle game, but ultimately not for very long, since there are only a handful of missions to play.
The visuals and audio don't achieve the same standard of quality that you'll find in similar games. For that matter, Worms World Party does less graphically than the original PC version that was released almost eight years ago. The backgrounds don't have much color to them, and the various character animations are relatively brief. There are a high number of facial gestures and body movements associated with the various attack and death scenes, but they're not as smooth as they could be for a game such as this. So too, the music and sound effects are mediocre, although you'll love the wide variety of voice comments that the worms make when they score a kill or meet their demise.
While you should take the deficiencies mentioned above into account if you're thinking of purchasing Worms World Party, you should temper them with the knowledge that the game is thoughtfully designed and fun to play. Worms World Party is a decent strategy game, even if it doesn't look as good as, sound as good as, or carry the same number of features as other games in the genre.