Apparently, as children, boys like to play in the dirt with the bug and the worms. Whether or not they’re actually imagining the worms working their way across a 2 dimensional plane to fire bazooka shots and flying sheep at each other is another story. But one thing’s for sure, we can certainly use video games to act that out in explosive glory.
Maybe Team 17 took that as their inspiration for the Worms series. As a very popular game in the late 90s, Worms was somewhat of a proud standing product not only of Team 17 themselves but of the British game development industry as a whole. In recent years however the change in formula felt needed yet constant attempts proved futile with fans yearning to go back to the series’ hay days. And that’s what Worms Revolution has managed perfectly.
Climbing out of the forts and back to the 2 dimensional battle field, Worms Revolution boasts a large return of Worm’s fans favourite weapons rather than just including what the developers thought were the most iconic, leaving no worm safe from the onslaught of anything ranging from the standard grenade to the ever elusive ground-shattering ‘Concrete Donkey’, the highly destructive – and grouchy – ‘Old Lady’, and patriotic ‘Holy Hand Grenade’ with some new havoc-wrecking warfare thrown in for good measure.
Returning back to the flagship comical combat of angles and strategy, Worms Revolution packs a punch by including most of the franchise’s weapons and modes while including more comedy and charm than ever before; even enlisting the help of IT Crowd star, Matt Berry, to narrate the campaign missions as punch line touting wildlife documentor, Don Keystone, with the help of famed writer, Dean Wilkinson.
Standard worm warfare returns to its roots in turn-based wriggle wrath across randomly generated terrain. Your team of 4 worms slide their way across the map and use their plentiful array of silly weaponry – or heavy projectile explosives to disperse of the redcoat-clad enemy team. Whacking them from the edge into the sea below with a baseball bat may not recite the sport’s “Homerun!” jingle anymore as they go hurtling into the drink, but it retains that same smirk-infecting slap and plop noise as the series’ more memorable titles.
The maps may not strike you as on the same level of open-plan battlefields as those classics, but be sure they certainly are. Now, each of those bottles, shells and fluid-packed lighters littering the fields have all become strategic joys to behold; some bounce, some roll and some explode and all can be enough to turn the tide of battle – and the same goes for the games new handling of liquids.
Water becomes a main feature of the tides of battle. Whereas the flowing waves below will still spell instant demise for the non-furry creatures, the pockets of almost jelliefied water injected into the fields crumbling terrain can spell doom in a very different way. Utilising the water’s peculiar physics you can strategise to lure enemies onto slops and flush them into the depths by letting the water flow out from its confines – or just use the new water weapons to a similar effect. I’ve managed to even create a small body of water around a worm and trap them in with a map prop of a bottle and leaving them there to drown a slow death. The campaign missions will regularly set you up to take down the enemies with something more akin to a tsunami for the minute embodiments of war. The water physics are nowhere near realistic and you’ll notice drops are more like chunks before they decide to meld with the scenery, but it’s usually good enough to get the job done.
While the included ‘Forts’ mode, dynamic water, Deathmatch maps and more usable props have expanded the need for strategy in the game, the inclusion of special worm ‘Classes’ kicks the RTS element up another notch. While you won’t see them often (unless you configure your team) you’ll be given access to 4 types of worms all differing slightly in appearence and uses. The ‘Heavy’, for example, is as burly wriggler who takes less damage from weapons and dishes out more in return. The ‘Scout’ is a smaller, more fragile worm able to jump higher, move faster and dig blowtorch holes too narrow for standard worms to slide through. The brainy ‘scientist’ will heal all friendly worms slightly with each passing turn and then you have the standard worm with no physical obnormalities or attributes to speak of. While the addition of classes is rarely noticeable in the long-term, I honestly think that’s for the best. It was only a matter of time before the medic and heavy worms would team up and turn a metallic purple colour and destroy the field in a single turn.
If the Steam Store page entries and in-game tabs are anything to go buy, Worms Revolution will be seeing enough future DLC to warrant a ‘season pass’ costly almost as much as the game itself. Hopefully the DLC packs will feature more weapons for local multiplayer matches and more hilarious antics with Don Keystone and his band of merry, mentally damaged worms as Worms Revolution could still use weapons like the ‘Carpet Bomb’, ‘Earthquake’, and, of course, ‘Armageddon’, to keep it balanced on the pedestal with its late comrades.
In all, Team 17 have done a fantastic job with Worms Revolution. Some, including myself, saw the franchise growing old while we were still young. Many attempts to save it seemed to just dig a greater hole with a pneumatic drill. Worms Revolution has seemingly proven once again that a simple return-to-the-roots is often-times enough to reinvigorate a series. It’s flashy, it’s fun and downright hilarious; it’s everything a Worms game should have at its core, but with a lot more.
Innovation – 3/5: It does everything past Worms games have done only with a little more strategy thrown into the side. Not a whole lot of new there, but enough to not mess with the core appeal.
Replayability – 4/5: The usual achievements and trophies come in droves, but timed mission runs and AI or online brawls with a plethora of options leave you with a lot of reason to come back after Matt Berry’s jokes have worn thin.
Audio/Visual – 4/5: Worms’ catchy maritime tunes return as good as ever, and the worms themselves stay as joyfully dumb as before. Their gawking expressions and silly phrases are well backed up with the range of map backdrops and stupid scenery.
Gameplay – 5/5: It’s the most rewarding, laughter inducing worm war since Worms Armageddon, and that most likely came with your preorder! Almost everything returns to the game along with the iconic gameplay of yesteryear with plenty of new room for careful thought and well positioned shots. It’s funny, it’s fun, and it’s a great homage to everything that made the series great in the first place.
Final score – 4/5