If you’re an old-school TouchArcade fan then you may remember the great Worm Game Wars of 2010, but in case you’re not, a brief recap. On August 24th 2010 developer Deceased Pixel announced Super Mega Worm, a 2D action game where you played as a giant worm who could burrow into the ground and then shoot up into the sky, eating and destroying anything and everything that got in your way. Super Mega Worm was inspired by a popular Flash game called Effing Worms, which itself was inspired by the original worm destruction Flash game Death Worm by developer JTR. Following along so far? Well, things got interesting when literally the very next day developer Playcreek announced that they had licensed the Death Worm IP from JTR and were currently working on an official mobile adaptation of the game. Thus the Worm Game Wars had begun.
Super Mega Worm got a head start and launched just a few days after its announcement, and quickly became THE game everyone in our community was playing. I was a massive fan of it myself, and we enjoyed it a lot in our review from the time. It would take another several months but eventually Playcreek’s official Death Worm would finally launch as well, and already being a fan of Super Mega Worm I actually reviewed Death Worm myself and tried to answer the question everyone seemed to be asking at that time: Which was the better giant worm game? Ultimately it was determined that they were both fantastic games in their own right, but I personally fell on the Death Worm side of the fence due to its more strategic gameplay and more robust progression system. If you aren’t familiar with Death Worm in any way, check out its original launch trailer below, but keep in mind that it’s more than ten years old and some of the information on display is pretty out of date.
So anyway, all this is to say that for a number of years afterward I continued enjoying the heck out of Death Worm on mobile and Playcreek did a nice job of adding in new content through updates. But really, what is the shelf life of a paid game on mobile that launched over a decade ago, and for just a handful of dollars at that? The last real meaningful new content for Death Worm was released more than five years ago in 2015, but it appears Playcreek is looking to revive this mobile classic with an absolutely massive version 2.0 update to the game which launched this week. First thing’s first: The game is very free to play now. To some that will be an immediate turnoff, and I get that. But as someone who played the original Death Worm and as an owner of that original premium purchase, I’m quite pleased at what this revamp has brought to the table.
The progression system is vastly expanded. There’s now a whole roster of playable worm types that you unlock by progressing in the game, each with their own upgrade path and level up system. Coins and XP are earned through completing missions, whether that’s the main Campaign missions, Daily missions, or special Mini-Game modes. Coins go towards upgrading each of the worm’s various stats while XP increases their overall level. Once you’ve maxed out a worm’s level (or in some cases fulfilled some other requirement) the next worm in line becomes available, but you’ll have to actually unlock it by purchasing it with coins or by using in-game gems. The gems are the game’s premium currency which can be bought with real money as IAP, and it’s also used to unlock various other things in the game or can be converted into regular coins should the need arise.
This new free to play style Death Worm also has an energy system and ads, both of which can be disabled in various ways. The ad removal can be purchased as an IAP, and the energy system can be either refilled by watching ads or waiting, or disabled temporarily using gems or by activating the game’s Season Pass which costs $4.99. It operates like most season passes and offers a tier of rewards that unlock through progression for those without the pass, and a better tier of rewards for those that do have the pass. You also earn XP at a much higher rate with the pass and it removes ads to boot. There’s two versions of Death Worm in the App Store, a paid version and a free version, and both are pretty much identical except that the paid version comes with the Season Pass already unlocked. Also since that’s the version I already own, I basically got the Season Pass for free. For totally new players I’d suggest playing the free version as that way you can make sure you like the game without spending anything first and can always buy the Season Pass or other IAPs later on.
There’s probably some stuff I’m forgetting too but I think you get the idea. If you’ve played a typical free to play game before that’s what Death Worm has transformed into. There was a mission structure before and a minor upgrading system before, but both have been greatly expanded in this new version and to be honest it’s reinvigorated my love for this game. Sometimes it’s those carrots on sticks, as superfluous as they may be, that give you a drive to play an arcade-oriented game like Death Worm and continue coming back to it for the satisfying progression loop. I know not everyone will feel that way, but for a game I figured was essentially dead and would never be updated again, I’ll take this over that alternative any day.
If you’re an owner of the premium version of Death Worm it’s worth taking the updated version with the included Season Pass for a spin. The core gameplay here is still so much fun even a decade later and all the new progression systems make it feel like a whole new game. If you’re completely new to the game, as I said before I’d suggest getting the free version first to check everything out since you can always buy what comes with the premium version down the line. At any rate Death Worm is still a fantastic game all these years later and I’m really happy to see it finding a way to stay alive in today’s tumultuous mobile gaming market. Also if you want to read up on more than a decade of comments about Death Worm then be sure to check out the thread in our forums.