Some of the best multi-player memories I have are from a regular weekly session of Worms: Armageddon some friends and I managed to keep for a couple of months. The gameplay is fun, intuitive, and original, and for an added bonus you can turn on the language filter and curse a blue streak in the chat window. It replaces your potty-mouth with words like "love" and "flowers." Ahh, good times.
The gameplay mechanic of lobbing bombs at your enemies is nothing new, and Artillery Live! returns the genre to its simple roots. You have a tank on a mountainous battlefield, and using a combination of angle and power must lob shells at your opponent. Unlike Worms but exactly like ZWoK!, everyone (up to four players) sets up their shot simultaneously and secretly, and the tanks all fire at the exact same time. Double-kills are not unheard of.
Once you start a game (don't miss the little box at the bottom of the main menu, where you customize your display name), you're dropped into a battlefield to await a game. This took for me, at most, ever, about 3 seconds. A big flashing arrow shows you that "You Are Here!" so you don't miss exactly who you are, and this helps because sometimes between games you flip from sitting on the right shooting left, to sitting on the left and shooting right.
In the screenshot you can (just barely) see the little angle and power meter. Grab the dot that sits on the angled indicator and drag it: run it up or down the line for greater or lesser power, and swing the bar to the left or right to adjust your angle of fire. You can fine-tune your shot with the small purple arrows, but don't take too much time. Don't forget about the effects of wind, either! You can also click the larger left and right arrows to move your tank, but you only need to click once in either direction, since your tank can basically only occupy two positions. Once you're all set you press the big circular "Fire!" button and wait a few seconds for the planning round to end, then watch the shells fly! Trash talk in the chat window at the bottom of the play screen, but don't miss watching where your shell lands so you can plan your next shot.
The game tracks your stats during the current session only, and once you die or quit lets you submit to the scoreboards. There's no sign-in, no persistent identity, no cookies, no nothing. Just hop in, play, hop out.
Analysis: Although this game has only one weapon, little movement, no login, and lacks worms, it has several things going for it that I love. It loads and plays quickly: you don't wait for long at any point to start shooting. The limited options work well within the game since you have barely enough time to aim and fire as it is. The combat is fast and frantic, and I frequently found myself losing track of time as I kept muttering "Okay, just one more round." This is one of the few games that I have bookmarked for future random, time-insensitive play. It's the perfect counterpart to that first morning cup of coffee before you really need to start work for day.