Worms, since the series' debut in 1995 on the PC, has spread across damned near anything you can play games on, from the SNES to mobile phones. I think I saw it playing on a toaster oven once.
While it's been taking over the world, Worms has also always offered some of the most entertaining player-vs.-player gameplay in the history of the medium. It's a bold statement, but I'm willing to stand by it.
The basic idea is simple. You have one team of Worms; your opponent has another. Using a variety of explosive and/or bizarre weaponry, ranging from your trusty bazooka to an explosive grandma, you try to kill each other. There are a few additional complications, like wind or cover, but you're still blowing each other up with high-powered explosives.
Worms 3D takes the series into the third dimension, after quite a few 2D games of varying levels of success. The last real installment of the series, Worms Armageddon, was a fair amount of fun as long as you played against another person, and not against the insanely accurate CPU.
You should probably know early on that Acclaim is just the most recent publisher for the Worms series. Past installments have been put out by Ubi Soft, Atari, Hasbro Interactive, and Sega, among others.
The first thing you'll notice in Worms 3D is that it's a very faithful translation of the core gameplay. While the small pixellated worms of past games have been replaced with polygonal recreations of the stars of past games' FMVs, you'll still wield the same weapons and do battle on very similar battlefields.
All the familiar tools of the Worms arsenal have made the transition here, from your trusty bazooka to an airstrike. Everything is sporting the same rounded and cartoony look as the Worms themselves, including such new tools as the Old Woman (an angry grandmother who... um... explodes; I know it's in poor taste, but it's hilarious nonetheless) and the Super Sheep (a lamb in a cape who can be guided to his target with explosive force).
There's a campaign mode in Worms 3D, which is fun for a while; fortunately, it lacks the insanely difficult AI of Worms Armageddon. (Playing Armageddon against the computer was kind of like a game of billiards against a guy who has a doctorate in geography. It found new and exciting ways to own you on every turn.) You'll go on a series of missions with various limitations set in place, such as limited firepower or only a couple of Worms. They're interesting challenges, especially if you're a strategy buff, but they're not enough to justify a purchase.
The real reason to play Worms 3D is to sit down with up to three friends and shoot at each other. Up to twenty-four Worms on four teams can be placed on custom-designed battlefields, where you can control almost every facet of the map from height to composition. Each player can customize his team's names, arsenal, voices (I recommend the Pirates), and tombstones (to mark fallen Worms) before the match.
From that point on, it's a standard Worms match from top to bottom. Worms has never been a battle of wits or an arena for the meeting of finely honed strategic minds; instead, it's about good buddies dropping bombs on each other. In that respect, nothing has changed.
There's only one flaw in the transition from 2D to 3D, though, and that's the battlefields. Each map in Worms 3D is surrounded on all sides by water, and, as we all know, going into the water is instantly fatal for Worms.
In past games, if you wanted a more drawn-out match, you could set the battleground for a high altitude or a lot of land. That way, if somebody went into the drink, it was near the end of the round, after repeated use of explosives had chewed all the way through the ground.
In Worms 3D, no matter how much you tweak the map, it's always going to be way too easy to fall into the water. In a four-player game, every team is going to lose a couple of Worms in the first few turns, because getting hit at all means a Worm has about a fifty-fifty chance of drowning.
If you can get used to that, then Worms 3D is a great party game. It may be the single cutest way possible to empty an Uzi into your friends' heads. If there's ever going to be another 3D installment, though, it'd be nice if you could set the map on a flat plain, rather than on an endless procession of islands. It'd feel more like a strategy game, and less like water polo.