The game features the same premise as the original game, and involves controlling an army of worms and using a collection of eclectic weaponry such as bazookas, dynamite, grenades, cluster bombs, homing missiles, banana bombs and the infamous holy hand grenade. These are among the basic weapons used to eliminate the opposing team(s) of worms. It features a completely new graphics system, going for a cartoon style, which has remained for the rest of the series.
Game play is turn-based, with each team moving in sequence (which is determined randomly) across two-dimensional terrain. During a single turn, a team can only move one of its worms. Worms can crawl and jump, as well as (when the appropriate items are available) swing by ninja-rope, parachute, teleport, and bungee. The objective of a traditional match or campaign mission is to defeat all opposing teams by killing their worms.
Each worm begins the round with a specific amount of health (which is predefined by the chosen game options or by scripting in campaign levels, with 100 being the default). When hit with a weapon, the worm will lose health depending on the power of the weapon and the directness of the hit. A worm can be killed either by having its health reduced to zero or being knocked into the water around and below the level.
Worms 2 was the first game in the Worms series to feature completely integrated local and online TCP/IP multiplayer in addition to the regular hotseat mode, which allows up to 6 players to compete. Online play is disabled in the GOG.com digital release of the game.