By Marty Mulrooney
Worms Revolution is the latest instalment of Team17’s popular Worms series of artillery strategy video games. When Alternative Magazine Online previewed the game last month, we noted that “Worms Revolution could mark a pleasing return to form for the series.” AMO has extensively played the PC (Steam)/PlayStation 3 (PSN) versions of the game and the verdict is in. So, does Worms Revolution manage to revolutionise the series and return it to its roots?
Worms Revolution is a downloadable title crammed with more content than most retail games. It features an extensive single player campaign and puzzle mode, along with 2-4 player online and local hotseat multiplayer modes. The graphics, sound and gameplay offer a surprisingly pleasant mash-up of the older 2D Worms instalments combined with the later 3D offerings. The new 3D engine is a compromise – slightly less visually pleasing than true 2D but introducing dynamic physics to the series for the very first time. It’s a 2.5 experience that takes a good stab at offering the best of both worlds.
The main addition to Worms Revolution is water – portrayed here as a thick sludge that runs in large globules. No longer is water limited to the bottom of the battlefield. Now, water is one of the deadliest weapons available and players must use it to their advantage if they wish to survive. Directing water towards enemy worms can wash them off ledges and even into the larger body of water at the bottom of the map. Submerged worms will slowly lose health with each passing round – hence the addition of a ‘plughole’ weapon. There are also several new water-based weapons, including water balloons and a water pistol. Oh, and comedian Matt Berry of The IT Crowd fame narrates as wildlife documentary maker Don Keyston to hilarious effect.
The core gameplay is the same as always – turn-based battles that involve wiping the enemy worm team off the face of the earth with a variety of zany weapons including exploding sheep, UFOs… and baseball bats. Certain objects are now affected by physics (giant lighters, oversized water bottles) but they don’t have any drastic impact on the battles. As mentioned, water is the main new addition to this instalment and it’s a constant source of extreme enjoyment (when used to kill your enemies) and sheer frustration (when it washes one/several of your worms off a cliff and into the drink).
There is certainly fun to be had with the single player campaign mode – it’s just a shame that Team17 makes players suffer through eight tutorial levels first. That’s right, one-quarter of the game’s 32 single player levels comprise the tutorial! Thankfully, after these levels are completed the game opens up a lot more and stops holding the player’s hand every step of the way. The 20 puzzle missions are a lot of fun too, although they start off far too linear – again, players will have to preserve to reach the good stuff. Thankfully, the online multiplayer is as strong as ever (offering Deathmatch, Forts and Classic modes) and there is also the option of playing locally with friends too.
The addition of worm classes (Soldier, Scout, Scientist and Heavy) adds variety, but the best battles usually feature just ‘Solider’ worms – the online multiplayer ‘Classic’ mode has obviously been included for purists as it removes classes, physics objects and dynamic water too. Customisation has featured throughout the series and is still available here, with players able to name their worms, dress them, personalise them and choose their voices. The new physics objects don’t add much to the precedings, but the dynamic water is a fun addition that helps to spice up the old formula.
Worms Revolution succeeds because it doesn’t even try to revolutionise the series – instead, Team17 has looked back at what worked best in past instalments and updated their well-thumbed gaming blueprints for a modern audience. It’s like a love letter to Worms fans – that damn ‘Ninja Rope’ is still tricky as hell to use, the parachute is erratic at best… but that’s half the fun, isn’t it?
8 OUT OF 10