Developer: Team17 Software / Publisher: Team17 Software / Played On: Xbox 360 / Price: $14.99 / ESRB: E10+ [Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief, Mild Language]
I played handfuls of games like Worms: Revolution growing up. Since then (the 90’s), the ‘Artillery Strategy’ genre hasn’t necessarily dwindled in its popularity, but it has shrunken in variety, with Team17 helping lead the pack with their Worms franchise, among other popular alternatives like Gunbound and Pocket Tanks.
Worms: Revolution is the culmination of everything the franchise (and the genre) is about – classic 2D, side-scrolling worm warfare, but in fresh, 3D environments brought to life with new dynamic physics mechanics and environmental dangers galore.
Though it definitely brings some fun elements in those additions, it’s by no means anything drastically different for the series – but when you think about what Worms is, it shouldn’t have to be. It’s classic turn-based fun with some neat, physics-based gameplay twists and comparatively varied online multiplayer – and that’s fine by me.
Gameplay & Controls
If you’ve laid hands on a Worms game before, you’re going to feel just as cozy in Worms Revolution. You’ll still maneuver your always-smiling worm left and right, leap from ledge to ledge, hurl items, shoot weapons, fire rockets, and call in airstrikes as you always have.
Speaking of such weapons, there’s certainly no shortage in this game. With dozens upon dozens of weapons to choose from across 32 single player missions, 20 puzzle maps and three multiplayer modes, it’s hard to argue that you’ll be low on the ammunition needed to get the job done.
While some of the weapons are more of a joy to use due to their sheer power and simplicity, there’s a quaint satisfaction to firing off a difficult-to-control weapon straight into the face of one of your spineless opponents. It’s not to say the game is unfair in its difficulty, but there is a very clear and intensive learning curve that isn’t to be ignored, which can mostly be attributed to angle of attack and knowing how much power to apply in each shot. And though the game requires some level of patience to conquer (as is conventional for games of this genre), the additional time and statistical calculation it requires is fun and welcomed in a time where today’s market is not as focused on the challenge games used to present in the early days.
And if you find the upper-level single player missions trying, just wait until you run into a Worms veteran online – they’re a site to behold.
What is frustrating, however, is the occasional misfire you’ll experience with your weapons. From time to time, I found myself nuking the ground beneath me due to a small collision between my ammunition and a nearby object. At one point, my rocket clipped an object’s edge by a small fraction, causing a well-planned shot to, quite literally, blow up in my face. And when you’re on the verge of losing a fifteen-minute long match, that misfire isn’t fun for anyone.
The game supports a total of three multiplayer modes, all of which are available in online and offline formats. So whether you’re with a few friends on the couch or ready to face them from across the country, you’ll be able to do so in Deathmatch, Fort, or Classic mode.
Deathmatch is a traditional Worms affair – each team has the opportunity to place their slinky soldiers one at a time across the field. You’ll duke it out with weapons and upgrades, with extra bonuses and equipment dropping randomly throughout the match. Physics hazards, in the form of water and flame barrels and the like, can be a bother or a blessing depending on who uses them effectively. Fort mode is similar to Deathmatch, but with both sides contained in their own fortress, separated by a body of water. Classic mode is the vanilla Worms experience, without Revolutions’ new additions like character classes, physics objects, or dynamic water.
These modes are, more or less, on level with single player in terms of familiarity. I found myself enjoying multiplayer most when I was either communicating with my opponent (which was rare on Xbox Live), or with a friend in couch co-op. If you don’t have these two options, single player is not quite as competitive and fun, but it’s available.
Presentation & Sound
Worms Revolution is still played in the traditional 2D format the series has maintained since the 90’s, but it’s rendered in a new, 3D physics engine that brings together side scrolling with dynamic physics. You can destroy environments with explosives, blow out caverns of water that will wash away your enemies (or your team if you’re not careful), and damage explosive barrels that emit pools of lava when destroyed. It’s a nice, touched up version of the Worms I grew up playing, but the environmental hazards definitely add some fun and challenge. However, I still can’t get over the fact that the water looks like jelly… or some kind of goop. It’s certainly very thick for what’s supposed to be water.
The game has catchy music and the sound effects are solid but nothing mind-blowing. What are noteworthy are the customizable worms and their voice packs. Including a number of aesthetic clothing and accessory options for your team, you’ll be able to select from a hefty list of voice themes for your soldiers to echo as you play through matches. Voices like ‘Soccer Mom’ and ‘Boxing Commentator’ were hilarious standouts, but the inclusion of the ‘Meme’ category is what had me smiling.
Hearing “Challenge Accepted” when an opposing worm disses you or catching wind of your Soldier yelling “Maggots!” never gets old. One even sings “trolololol” when firing a missile… and missing a target with said missile results in hearing “Son, I am disappoint.”
Worms Revolution is more Worms, but it’s more Worms with a few quirky twists. Though the water looks like jelly, it adds some never-before-possible mechanics into the world of Worms that make you ponder your plan of attack more thoughtfully.
You’ll have your fair share of frustrations with Worms Revolution, mostly with weapon-to-environment collision issues, but it’s not nearly enough to take away from how fun this series still is, especially if you’re a longtime fan.