Friday, November 19, 2010

App O' The Mornin': Death Worm Review

Grade: A
Price: $1

I'll make this easy: every app and Flash clone of JTR's Death Worm is about 90% less entertaining than the real thing. Forget about Super Mega Worm, Effing Worms, and even the original Death Worm. Playcreek has created the definitive version, making one of the most unrelentingly addictive games in the app store in the process.

Death Worm is a bit tricky to describe. Think of it as Tremors: The Game. A giant, terrifying worm with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth burrows underground and occasionally breaks the surface to snatch people, cars, tanks, helicopters, aircraft, and UFOs from below. It moves in graceful loops through dirt and crest the surface like a dolphin ... deadly, disgusting, giant, man-eating dolphin.

You control this worm with your finger, directing its path in order to intercept targets. This isn't an automatic point-to-kill process. The worm has limits to its movement. It can only turn in certain arcs, and correctly lining it up with surface objects can be tricky. Most frustrating is the fact that you can't change your path once you've leaped in the air. This isn't a flaw, but part of the challenge. It just takes some time to get used to it and plan your surface jumps correctly.

Along the way, your worm can buy certain powerups, such as a fireball attack, a larger leap, thicker skin, faster movement, and so on. There are three environments, each with multiple levels of increasing challenges. Some of these can be pretty frustrating, such as the levels that require you to eat 10 people while remaining completely uninjured. Another level requires you to get 5 aircraft, but then runs out of the surface threats that provide the powerups which enable you to reach those aircraft. There's a workaround for this featuring underground snacks with some occasional powerups, but this particular challenge kills the intense pace of the game.

Those problems are rare, however. Death Worm is visually striking and  insanely addictive. Just get it.


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