Hedgewars is a "Worms-like game" that substitutes little pink Hedgehogs for worms. If you've never heard of the Worms video game series, it is a turn-by-turn strategy game, in which you control a team of worms that tries to blow up the other team by using deadly weapons. It may sound odd, but it is freakin fun, and freakin addicting. And Hedgewars is too.
Hedgewars is very comparable to the Worms games, in that almost every feature available for Worms is in Hedgewars. You can customize what weapons are available, make teams, make rules, make maps, and (I believe) make voices. The background music is pretty amazing in that it's actually fairly catchy, and makes blowing things up more fun. You can save games and replay them later (I'm 95% sure). Those are just a few of the notable features that make it comparable to a commercial game like Worms. The difference between Worms and Hedgewars is that Worms is a commercial game, and Hedgewars is not only free, but also open source and cross platform to boot.
In terms of in-game features, Hedgewars does not fail to impress. Available in at least v0.9.11, the "Shoppa" setting is actually built in (even though you can create your own, if you want). The weapons, hedgehogs, and characters all look good, and the physics of the game are very accurate (and always improving with each new release.) There are health bars, dropping crates and health packs, animated backgrounds, wind changes (and a wind meter). There's also even an availability to play LAN games, either locally or on the internet.
There are a few things that could stand to improve. The first is hedgehog animation. Maybe it's just because worms are so much more wiggly, but the Hedgehogs seem to stay in the same position all the time. For example, when being knocked over a distance, when flying via rope, etc, the Hedgehogs often keep the same "standing" position. Not a terrible flaw, but it would help players get into the game more. And a victory dance wouldn't hurt either.
The second is sounds. I did mention both the music and voices being great, and that is true, but Hedgewars lacks voices for several weapons, such as the rope (which is really sad...I miss the Worms twange), the baseball bat, and more.
Also, Training mode is in development (with v0.9.11), meaning there is one playable level, but it would be nice to get that up and running (since it's been down since at least v0.9.7, which was actually quite a while ago.
It may seem like I'm nitpicking, or that I don't like Hedgewars, but that is not true; it really is a good game. In terms of the physics and playability, Hedgewars is amazing; it's just that the presentation (graphics, sound) needs a little fine tuning. It has some very nice features that Worms does not have, like being able to customize the appearance of your hedgehogs (like adding a wig, a hat, etc). It has innovative new weapons, some that are comparable to Worms weapons (like the "Hellish grenade" instead of the "Holy hand grenade") and some that are completely original (like a walking exploding cake). Granted, there are not as many weapons as the Worms series (like no skunk, sheep, minigun, homing pigeon, dragon ball, flame thrower, salvation army, petrol bomb, etc.) but the weapons that it does have are fantastic, and hopefully new weapons are a part of Hedgewars' future. And that future looks like a very bright one.
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