1995 saw the introduction of a 2D, turn based, strategic artillery game called Worms on the Amiga. The bizarre mix of cartoon invertebrates exercising precision-shooting with bazookas and grenades made for a game that was light-hearted and deep in strategy. This initial iteration spawned many sequels and even a few offbeat 3D installments that never sold as well as their two-dimensional brethren. After a couple of new releases on this generation’s consoles, Team 17 is on the brink of releasing Worms: Revolution in a brand new 2.5D style hoping to soak in the benefit of three dimensions while retaining its classic 2D gameplay. With 32 single player missions, 20 puzzles, four unique character classes, brand new physics objects, and classic multiplayer gameplay, this outing has everything it needs to satisfy fans without showing them something they’ve already seen.
The game starts off slow as eight single player missions take you through a tutorial on how to play. This particular section isn’t turn based with very little destructible environments which is a harsh way to introduce fans to the new title. Thankfully, missions start to pick up steam after the off-putting introduction and the gameplay becomes recognizable again. There are eight missions to conquer on each of the four different terrain styles (or “worlds” as they might be thought of). 3D worms and environments will coat the screen on a 2D plane, like a digital ant farm, and each player will be in charge of a team of four worms in the dirt. Of course, instead of squirming around and minding your own business like a normal worm, you’ll be tasked with killing every worm on the map that isn’t on your team using an arsenal of military grade weaponry.
Worms take turns throwing explosives back and forth in order to become the last team alive on the map. It’s a simple concept but executing perfect aim, compensating for wind, and taking advantage of your surroundings are all things you’ll need to master if you’re going to succeed. Don’t let the cartoony style fool you. Landing the perfect shot can be quite difficult. However, there are few things more satisfying than killing your friend’s worm from across the map with one ridiculously well placed shot. Some weapons are completely wacky involving exploding sheep and UFOs, but everything serves its purpose as a viable option for worm killing.
The 20 puzzle missions are for the most strategic of Worms players. Each one challenges you to kill the enemy team with a very limited amount of resources. Every grenade and mine will have to be used meticulously and one mistake can send you right back to the beginning. Crafty players will be utilizing the environment in clever ways to save ammo and secure a win. These head scratchers get increasingly more addicting as every level offers an opportunity to enjoy the bliss of those “ah-ha” moments after being stuck for several minutes.
The puzzles are actually in some ways a better solitary experience than the campaign since it offers gameplay that works best when played alone. Both the puzzles and campaign are narrated by the very funny Matt Berry (The IT Crowd; Snuff Box) and written by BAFTA award winner Dean Wilkinson (Little Big Planet; SMTV Live). Needless to say, the humor works wonderfully and definitely meets and exceeds the comedic expectations of the series. Even though the campaign doesn’t offer much besides performing the same tasks you would normally be doing in multiplayer (replacing your buddies with A.I.), it’s still a great way to get started and appreciate the extremely well crafted satire.
Put ’em up!
Worms: Revolution introduces four new classes of grubs: Soldier, Heavy, Scout, and Scientist. The Soldier is your basic middle-of-the-road worm and behaves identically to what you’ve seen in previous installments. The Heavy deals more weapon damage and isn’t as easily hurt the as other classes but has a tough time getting around being the fattest and slowest member of the bunch. The Scouts are the weakest but make up for it in quick movement and the ability to hide in small tunnels where no one can follow. The Scientist lands between the Scout and Soldier in strength but builds turrets, girders, and magnets stronger than any of the others. As an added bonus, every worm gains 5 health at the beginning of the Scientist’s turn.
The new class system isn’t overly complicated and that’s what’s so great about it. No worm is shut out from using certain types of weaponry or equipment. The differences between the classes are subtle but important enough that proper usage of their unique advantages are essential to victory. It complements the series’ obsession with tactical gunplay and provides more options to best your opponents on the battlefield.
Four new classes
Veterans of the series will recognize the large themed objects peppered around the map from past Worms titles, but they offer a little something new this time around. What used to sit as neutral obstacles now mixes up the gameplay with a few dangerous consequences when shot at. Blow up a lighter and expect wildfire to follow. Break a test tube and the contents might be poisonous. Every object is now a dynamic part of warfare as bullets don’t have to be aimed directly at other worms to hurt them. Perhaps one of the most promoted and interesting additions in this category are the objects that hold water.
Water has always just sat at the bottom of every map as a penalty for falling off the playing field. Sinking into the bottom of the ocean is still an instant death, but the water found in objects behaves a little differently. The liquid can be used to wash worms off a cliff or submerge them in a puddle with no escape. The latter won’t kill the worm instantly, but does take health away every turn they’re still stuck without air.
The addition of free flowing liquids is a welcome one and even introduces a new line of weaponry (water gun, water balloon, etc.) and defenses to counteract the new threat as well (drains). Like every other new feature in Worms: Revolution, water doesn’t pull the attention that maybe the developers wanted, but this should be seen as a good thing. It contributes new strategies and a fresh look without changing the game completely.
Multiplayer is a big part of every Worms experience and that’s no exception here. The game allows you to battle with up to three friends online or locally and even gives you the option to pass one controller around if you don’t have enough for everyone. There are three modes to choose from when challenging others: Deathmatch, Fort, and Classic. Deathmatch is the standard choice; Worms trade bullets back and forth with all the new exciting features at your disposal.
Fort consists of two castles and/or forts side by side with opposing teams in each stronghold. Without the luxury of close quarters combat, this option is made for those who love to pop off those precision shots from afar. Unfortunately, the castles have so many places to hide it makes the artillery gameplay the mode is great for more impractical, forcing you to resort to the series’ weirder weapons. Four people can play in Fort, like the others, but it’s only two teams (one per fortress) and it would have been nice to see the option for more than two structures on one map for multi-team warfare.
Classic does away with every fresh addition this “revolution” has brought for players who want a more traditional experience. However, the new stuff works so well it would be a shame to ignore it all. This new multiplayer experience is just as addicting as ever and provides match after match of laughing and screaming for you and your friends.
Worms: Revolution isn’t without its set of problems. Environments aren’t painted procedurally anymore so there’s a possibility of playing on repeated maps, the A.I. has trouble making logical decisions, and the entire experience isn’t exactly void of an annoying glitch or two. Even though it’s not the most polished game on the market and might not be the revolution Team 17 was shooting for, it is still an extremely competent title in a long series of fantastic games. It’s a little pricey at $15 dollars, but whether you’re a longtime fan or just a curious consumer, Worms: Revolution is hours of entertainment worth enjoying.
Classic gameplay with a fresh look | New compelling strategies | Multiplayer is as addicting as ever
A.I. Makes questionable decisions | No more procedural maps
Little David Galanter grew up in Orange County, CA loving videogames and anything else that repelled girls. After getting his Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts, David decided to start contributing his soft silky words to the world via online media. He currently owns a website with a weekly podcast (www.drgman.com) and is a reviewer for Default Prime!
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