Worms Revolution ReviewJosh Vanhorn
Anyone who has at least moderately kept up with gaming over the past two decades has probably heard of Worms, if not spent hours of their lives playing it. It has had a bit of a cult following since it appeared on the scene way back in 1995. The gameplay has fundamentally remained unchanged throughout its many iterations (Worms 3D excluded); That, as any dedicated Worms fan will tell you, is not a complaint. While the latest installment of Team 17's strategy game pops our beloved worms into a 3D world, the gameplay remains staged in a 2D landscape. The draw here is the addition of more realistic physics, and it is a fine payoff that delivers us the Worms we love whilst taking a much needed forward step into the series' future.
For those unfamiliar, Worms is a turn-based strategy game that throws four worms for you and each of your opponents onto a randomly generated landscape and provides you with an armamentarium of weapons and tools to help dispose of your enemies or protect your team from incoming attacks. Your goal is to delightfully annihilate all the worms in the game that are not your own, or an ally's. Every worm starts with 100 health. To win, simply get that 100 down to 0 using anything from rocket launchers, to flamethrowers, to sheep, to Holy Hand Grenades (straight from Monty Python). Or, if you find it easier, knock your enemy's worms off of solid footing and splash them into an early, watery grave. Once you become familiar with how all the items in your arsenal operate, contending against someone of near-equal skill plays a bit like a game of chess. You'll strike when beneficial, go defensive in preparation for future moves, and occasionally sacrifice that crucial pawn when the outcome seems to outweigh the injury. It's all quite genius.
There are two big, new innovations in Worms Revolution. The first comes in the form of a weapon: water. Yes, water now plays an important role in the Worms universe, besides being just a deadly boundary for when a player falls off the map. It can now be used to slowly drown worms between long turn intervals, or to flush a group of enemies together in one area for a future attack. And thanks to the added water bomb airstrike, hiding on the edge of an open map opposite an opponent is no longer safe, as a well placed strike can wash an entire team of worms into the surrounding sea.
The second innovation here is the addition of worm classes. No longer are you bound to a single worm type. There are soldiers, heavies, scouts, and scientists to choose from, each with their own advantages and downfalls. Soldiers are your conventional, all-around worms. Scientists can build stronger girders and turrets, and also provide health benefits to the entire team. Heavies move slower while dealing more damage and taking less. And the scouts maneuver swiftly about the terrain and receive reduced fall damage, however lose more health from all other encounters. You can set up your team with whatever layout tickles your fancy, the catch being that you must unlock the special worm classes by collecting coins in one of the single player modes, whether that be in the main campaign or the separate puzzle section.
The campaign is hosted by Matt Berry who plays fictional wildlife observer Don Keystone. Berry's voice acting greets you at the start of every mission, performing from a script riddled with witty jests and some good ol' British humor. He'll talk you through four different areas, each consisting of seven missions and one boss battle. Obtaining the gold medal (and largest coin bonus) for each stage gets progressively difficult as new levels become accessible, and if you want to unlock every customizable piece for your pixilated invertebrates and acquire all the worms under every class, you'll need to set your goal for the gold in most of these missions.
Human competition is where Worms shines, however. It's hard to go back to the single player once you've experienced a couple close matches online. Most of the time the AI is either god-awful or insanely accurate, causing some missions to be painfully boring or a bit frustrating. Luckily, finding online competition is rarely a chore. And the multiplayer fun to be had when you join a good room of three or four players is some of the best in gaming, in this reviewer's opinion.
If you're a Worms vet like me, there's no reason to pass up this latest entry. And if you've never jumped into the world of Worms, there's no better time to get your worm wet than now, so to speak. For about the price of a movie ticket and a bag of popcorn, you can purchase one of the most fun and competitive strategy games out there and live and relive the joy that is Worms. And save yourself the trans fat.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.