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SCORES EXPLAINED:

5.0 Perfect
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Silverback Reviews


7800 Rank: Unranked
Genre: Action

Awards: None
Worm! is Snake, but for Cucks Pros: Many options, New Experiences Every Game
Cons: Too Hard to Control That Gross Looking Worm
Hey Kid... Can I Interest you in Entering the Worm! Hall of Fame? Hey KID! HEY KID! Where are you Going???


Overview: Worm! is the second game from Mark Ball (aka Groovybee) and was released in the year 2010.
That was when the 7800 homebrew scene was still fairly young, and there wasn't too many new releases available. Its now hard to believe such a time existed, since 2022 will see 15-16 releases this year alone. Worm! Is a dodge 'em/ twitch game, extremely similar to Snake, which was on everyone's old Nokia phones back before the iPhone craze. In these type of games, you control an animal that eats and grows as it consumes, therefore its own body becomes the main obstacle you must avoid. How is Mark Ball's sophomore (and final) 7800 game? Unfortunately its not so hot. It can be decent, kind of... but not really. Let me extrapolate...

Graphics: Worm! and other Surround (Atari 2600) style games have never been about graphics. It is all gameplay, baby. Black backgrounds are enclosed by brick barriers, with flowers, plants (mushrooms?) and apples littering the playfield. Your pink worm looks friendly enough but is a kind of boring compared to a cool animal... (LIKE A SNAKE, MARK), for instance. It seems to grow new segments (from eating flowers) organically. Its an OK aesthetic for what the game does but its still boring looking and the worm is a little disgusting- like a boss from the "digestive system adventure"- Hearty Manslapper by FrankOdragon. The game's visual style conveys what it needs to adequately, but does nothing to keep you engaged for long sessions. The game's menus, title screens and high score charts are done well and look good, though.

Sound: The audio is barely present. You have a painful tune that plays during the title and options screens and the odd sound effect as you pick up items or crash into hazards. It's bare bones and that title song is elementary at best. Much like the graphics, sound is adequate to convey what it needs to at the very basic level of the game, but it is, alas, boring otherwise. You miss nothing by muting the TV and listening to some jams while you play.

Gameplay: Your goal is to eat flowers, evade the obstacles which include your growing lard butt, and eventually you will consume enough flora to clear the level's requirements. Then it is on to the next level. I have two distinctly different experiences with Worm! First, I started playing with my NES style gamepad that I got through RetroGameBoyz (great controller BTW) and the control just feels unresponsive. This style of game requires very deliberate stick presses to move the way you want. It's hard to explain, but it plays like other Snake style games where you have to press the direction you want to go just before you get there. Its similar to Pac Man but more tricky and counter-intuitive. If you move too soon- you turn before you want; "on time" and you crash into a potential hazard. There's a sweet spot in there somewhere. Unfortunately, unlike Pac-Man, the game is not fun enough to figure out where that is. Potential hazards are almost everything on the map, including your growing body (This is true in real life, too). With my beloved aftermarket gamepad, I just wasn't getting the response I needed and I was ready to write this game off as a crappy, unresponsive port. Then I tried the Proline controller. Holy mother of programming, the mad man made a game that works fairly well with the Proline! I couldn't make it past the first few levels with the pad, I was able to make it a dozen or more levels into the game with the 7800's stock American joystick. Controlling the game with the stock 'sticks made gameplay better... but it still wasn't perfect. The worm moves too fast, even on slow speed and control is too sloppy to ever feel comfortable driving the damn thing. Subsequent levels feature new background layouts, similar to a mini golf game's holes.

Originality: Have you played Surround (Atari 2600), Blockade (Arcade), Snake IO, or the Snake game on the old Nokia phones from the nineties? If you have then you've essentially played this game before... but this one is probably worse. It's been ported everywhere and this version has done nothing to shake up the presentation or gameplay. No enemies, power ups, cut scenes, crazy cool bonus modes or anything like that. There are several options in Worm! Like...

Value: Starting body length size, worm speed (two words I have never typed together before), and level clearing requirements are settings you can tweak. The high score screen is pretty snazzy, to boot. Placement of obstacles, apples and flowers are random each life. This should technically make for a slightly different experience each time you play, but the impending monotony makes Worm! never feel truly fresh (tell her to get Summer's Eve).

Overall: Maybe we're a bit spoiled today with our awesome homebrew community, but there just isn't enough here to make Worm! stand out. If you play exclusively with Proline controllers and love snake games, you may wanna grab this one, but I would suggest buying Serpentine instead. That's a vastly superior homebrew with a better hot dog shaped hero. Sorry Mark, I appreciate the effort but this game just doesn't do it for me- and I feel like I'm probably not in a minority on this one.



******(Funkmaster V's totally not needed second opinion) While Silverback found solace playing this game with the 7800 joysticks, I found no such respite with them. It is a shame, because I think the game looks like it could have been great for what it was. I need to turn the options to Teddy bear level options: Small body size/ slow worm speed/ eat some flowers to clear the board/ to move into multiple boards. Still, it is unintuitive and therefore not fun.



This review was graciously provided by Silverback.

I would like to thank Atari Age for the use of their screenshots used in this review.