After 15 games, you’d normally expect a developer to just call it a day.
I mean, come on, what can you actually do to a sequel that high in number that hasn’t already been done a hundred times before within your own series?
This rings especially true for a game with a history as rich and as varied as Worms. Just what hasn’t Worms already attempted in the 17 years since its inception? We’ve had Worms 3D, we’ve had Worm’s Breakout… hell, we’ve even had Worms Golf for goodness sake. In fact, the only thing the damned invertebrate haven’t attempted yet is kart racing, but that’s not through lack of trying. Worms Battle Rally (or Super Worms Kart as I’ve literally just dubbed it) was cancelled in 2003, probably due to it being a terrible idea.
I guess, at the end of the day, you just can’t blame Team 17 for trying. They have a fun, original and (let’s face it) incredibly addictive concept at their disposal. Why would they want to give it up? Worms has, and always will be, one of the greatest turn based strategies ever made. It’s fun, it’s accessible to gamers of all ages and most of all, after 15 instalments, the basic formula has pretty much been refined to perfection.
So with all this in mind, what does Worms Revolution have to offer? How is it different from its predecessors? Why is it worth your time?
Well the answer is surprisingly straight forward. Worms Revolution is brilliant. Here’s why…
War. War never changes.
For those who are new to the series, Worms is a turn based strategy game in which players take it in turns to use an assortment of weapons and items in order to defeat their opponents. Each player has four worms, and the aim of each game is to lay waste to your rival’s forces.
Every battlefield is randomly generated, fully destructible and incredibly deadly. Explosive barrels, mines and other objects litter the landscape, and the bottom of each map is dominated by a body of water that means instant death to any unfortunate worm who happens to fall (or, more likely, be pushed) into it
It’s a great concept, and combined with a hilarious arsenal of weapons (series staples include the super sheep, the old woman and the trusty bazooka) and a ton of customisation options (hats, anyone?) it’s no wonder Worms has stood the test of time for so long.
So what’s different in Worms Revolution? Well, to be honest, not a lot.
In fact, in terms of basic gameplay, Worms Revolution is exactly the same as the last entry into the series, Worms Armageddon, bar the enhanced physics engine and the inclusion of a few new weapons.
Weapons and items all perform just as well as they did in the last game, movement is still as precise as before and even the gamemodes have remained untouched.
Although this may initially come off as a negative point towards the game, it’s actually an incredibly impressive one. Considering Worms Revolution has been completely re-built from the ground up in a brand new game engine, the simple fact that Team 17 have made everything feel the same as it did in its previous instalment is a miracle.
As I mentioned earlier, the Worms formula has already been perfected ten times over, so I’m thankful that nothing has really changed significantly in the gameplay department. The game plays and controls brilliantly, making this the most refined entry in the series to date.
Anyway, enough about what’s the same, let’s move onto what’s new.
One of the main additions in Worms Revolution, and a first for the series as a whole, is the game’s dynamic water effects. Small bodies of water now spawn on the battlefield, and use full advantage of the game’s enhanced physics engine. Destroying the land beneath them will see the water flow realistically into a new position, washing away objects, mines and even other Worms in the process.
A bunch of new water based weapons have also been added, allowing you to use the new element to your advantage. For example, washing away enemy Worms using the water balloon variation of the common airstrike is a good tactic, and even though Worms can’t drown in water that’s created by the player, Worms still take a small amount of damage for every turn they’re stuck underneath it.
It’s a surprisingly fun feature, and it adds another layer of depth to an already intricate experience. It’s also fully optional, so if you find yourself craving a more “vanilla” experience of Worms, there’s always the option to simply turn it off.
The second main gameplay addition is the inclusion of a class based system, another first for the series. There are four classes to choose from (soldier, heavy, scientist and scout) each with their own unique advantages and flaws. Teams can now be customised to accommodate these new classes, and it’s entirely possible to have a team full of heavy’s rather than being limited to just one of each.
The classes are a brilliant addition and feel well balanced as well as being distinct in their visual style. The scout was my particular favourite, as his increased speed and jump range makes him incredibly nimble. Also he’s fun as hell to control, and it’s a refreshing change of pace from the bog-standard soldier worms we’ve all became accustomed too over the years.
Also, like the water effects, the classes are entirely optional, meaning it’s not only possible for you to go through the whole game without ever playing as anything other than the default class, but completely acceptable.
The game also features two main single player modes in the form of a campaign and puzzle mode.
There are 38 campaign levels for you to battle through and 20 puzzles for you to solve. The campaign mode sees you fighting against an AI opponent, but within a deviously designed level that often works in your favour (for example, in one of the first levels, it’s possible for you to destroy a portion of wall to release the water behind it in order to wash away your enemies in one easy move).
The puzzle mode is similar to the campaign mode, but instead sees one worm having to manoeuvre through an obstacle course in order to inventively kill a number of enemies in order to progress.
Both modes are good fun, and serve as a pleasant distraction from the game’s superior multiplayer modes, but it has to be said that they become difficult incredibly quickly.
At times, it almost seems as though the AI is the most intelligent machine on the planet, capable of defeating your Worms with a pin-point precision the likes of which has never been seen. To say it becomes frustrating is an understatement. It becomes an absolute nightmare, and I found myself rage quitting back into the multiplayer modes on more more than one occasion.
Still, it’s a nice addition, and the fact that it’s also narrated by the wonderful Matt Berry of IT Crowd and Mighty Boosh fame is just the icing on the cake. Although his commentary is a little bit cheesy at times (make that all of the time) it’s still a fun little extra that had me smiling from start to finish.
It’s just a shame he doesn’t narrate the multiplayer mode. Speaking of which…
It’s a revolution
The best part of the Worms series is its multiplayer mode, and Worms Revolution is no exception. Both online and offline multiplayer modes return, and once again up to four players can battle it out to discover who is the greatest worm-slayer of them all.
Multiplayer can’t really be faulted, and like the gameplay itself, has been fully refined over the years. Everything can be customised, from crate drops to what weapons players begin with, making every game a unique experience both online and off.
Online multiplayer is generally stable and matchmaking was (in my experience) an easy and stress free experience, however I personally found local multiplayer with friends to be the best mode Worms Revolution had to offer. There’s nothing quite like piling around a TV and getting a couple of games of Worms in, and the new gameplay features and weapons make Worms Revolution one of the best local multiplayer games of the current generation.
It’s just unfortunate that Team 17 have stripped the ability to make custom teams completely out of the game. For some reason, guest players are now limited to a set of four soldiers, and are unable to change their worm names or even make their own custom class formations.
It’s mind boggling that one of the series’ best features has been removed from Worms Revolution, and it really is sorely missed. Hopefully it’ll be patched in soon.
Taking a new direction
Perhaps the most notable change in Worms Revolution however is its new visual style. Taking influence from previous games in the series such as Worms 3D and Worms 4, the game is now fully rendered in 3D whilst still maintaining the classic side on perspective that fans of the series know and love.
It’s a brilliant effect, and it’s a wonder why the developers haven’t attempted this before now. Each battlefield has a great sense of depth and perspective to it, and each of the four world themes are as distinctive as they are beautiful. Everything, from the background music to the fully animated backgrounds (which show everything from seagulls to rats mulling around within the environment) are beautifully presented and incredibly well designed.
I honestly think that Worms Revolution is one of the most well presented games in the entire series, especially when it’s compared to the dull, serious tone that Worms Armageddon went for. Although it’s not the prettiest game I’ve played this year, it’s undeniably the most charming.
All in all, Worms Revolution is one of the most refined, well executed and addictive downloadable games I’ve played in a long time.
Packed to the brim with excellent new features, clever new ideas and presented with all the style and gusto of a full retail release, Worms Revolution is the best instalment in the series to date. I literally cannot recommend this game enough.
See you on the battlefield soldier. Remember to bring your bazooka.
Worms Revolution - Xbox 350 (reviewed), PC (tested), PS3
Packed to the brim with great ideas, Worms Revolution is a refreshing entry in an aging series.