OverviewPlatform: Xbox 360
Those worms are back in their most explosive outing to date, but have we seen it all before? Nick opens a can of ‘em to find out
My interest in all things Worms harks back to Christmas 1997 when I was given the original game for my Playstation in a double box set with the God-awful Olympic Soccer. Naturally, I was disappointed, for the game I REALLY wanted that Christmas was Tekken 2, however my parents deemed it ‘too violent’ for my young mind. Little did I know that I had spent the previous Summer playing Carmageddon till the early hours in total secrecy. By comparison, Worms looked like something I’d grown out of years earlier.
Fast forward to 2012 and there’s a new dog in town, ‘Worms Revolution’.
Team 17 and Warner Brothers have teamed up with a brand new graphics engine in this latest offering to bring back what made the original so brilliant. The action is now rendered in beautiful true 3D (the first of the series to do so) with not only nuances of previous titles but also brand new features and modes to bring it into the modern age.
The first thing I noticed when firing up Worms Revolution was the amount of content for an Xbox Live Arcade titles, there’s definitely a lot to sink your teeth into here. From single player campaigns, and puzzle modes to a fully fledged ranking multiplayer. There’s even a customise section where you can name your worms and squads for a truly bespoke experience. From the outset, this looks great.
For the unenlightened among you, the idea behind the Worms series is that you have a team of erm, worms that have a varying amount of weapons in your arsenal. You use those weapons to destroy the enemy team with victory going to the team who has the most worms left at the end. What sets this apart is that the action is turn-based so you have to make sure the weapon you’re firing has to have the most devastating effects upon your foes, or face annihilation when it’s their turn. Sounds simple, but it can get fiercely strategic once you get the hang of it.
As with many games these days that involve a certain degree of complexity, a tutorial is often the first thing gamers encounter to get a feel for the control and discover what each button does. This is none more evident than in WormsRevolution. Narrated by Matt Berry (of Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace and the IT Crowd fame) you are guided through the early stages in a level of detail that I haven’t seen before in a game that’s on XBLA. I mean, man…this is a long tutorial. It was an hour, no joke before I even saw combat with an enemy that could actually fight back. The time was taken up with bad joke after bad joke from the narrator which began to seriously grind my gears. COME ON, LET’S GET TO THE EXPLOSIONS ARLEADY.
Aside from the overly long tutorial, the graphics are very pleasing to the eye. Care and attention have been paid to weapon physics and explosions are a satisfying affair. Team 17 have definitely stepped it up a gear which is impressive and in my opinion, needed to happen to avoid the series from going stale. The familiar deformable landscape is here in abundance where huge holes can be blasted in the terrain to create hiding places from even the deftest of airstrikes.
Speaking of offense, as usual there’s loads of ways to deal out the damage. However, in Worms Revolution, it’s cranked up to the max. The choice of weapons is almost on level with Borderlands. Alongside mainstays like the exploding bananas and sheep we have brand new entries like ‘The Granny’ (similar to the sheep but you get two explosions rather than one) and a devastating ‘Water Strike’ where a passing plane delivers a deluge to wash your enemies into the sea. On that note, water is used here like never before. In many levels its stored high above the battle arena, where all it takes is a deftly-aimed bazooka blast to send it crashing down on your enemies.
The controls are simple enough, too. Moves are a one button affair and you simply guide your cursor where you want an airstrike to land, or where’s best to teleport to get out of a danger. I only wish they’d made the jump the A button and not the action button. Why not make the right trigger the action one? It feels much more natural and would’ve saved a lot of frustratingly cheap deaths on my part. OH, and there’s the part(s) where the enemy nails you with a bazooka right in the face from a million miles away with pinpoint accuracy. HOW CAN YOU BE SO ACCURATE?! But that’s a gripe with Worms I’ve had since that Christmas of 1997.
Moving around the arena has been made easier as you can now double jump to reach areas other Worms games fear to tread to gain a vital vantage point. Environmental hazards such as napalm barrels and massive props litter the landscape which can prove to be your closest ally or your worst enemy depending on how you use them. As always, strategy plays a big part and knowing where your worms are in relation to your enemy is the key to survival. If you feel that the plethora of weapons is not enough for what you need to do, there’s a shop where you can buy even more!
The campaign is spread across five areas comprising 6-8 missions in a deathmatch style. What makes Worms Revolution different from the other Worms titles that have preceded it is the use of a class system. For example, in the customise section, you can choose what type of worm you want for your team. That can range from the quick and agile Scout worm, the classic all round Soldier class worm to the heavy, big damage Tank worm. This adds even more tactics to the gameplay as the player can choose the best team for the level or its inhabitants. Adding classes is a great idea that’s not been seen in the franchise before. There’s a puzzle section too, where you make your way through the levels completing tasks in a certain time. It’s a nice feature, but the deathmatch is way more fun.
Fun is the key with any Worms title, and there’s loads to be had across the various missions. However, WormsRevolution really comes alive when you play with someone else. The multiplayer is a hoot. There’s something about watching your opponent trying to work out what the best tactic and strategy to kill you, with mixed results. It makes those kills even more satisfying when you know it’s a real person getting blown up by a runaway Granny. I would’ve liked to see a map editor like the one in the original but everything else this game does is spot on.
In short, Worms Revolution is a great addition to series and has retained all the aspects which got me hooked back in the day but has added new, modern twists like a 3D engine and a huge array of mad weapons. What is lacks in depth it makes up in spades with its infectious fun factor, especially with a real person at the other end of your bazooka.