It is fair to say I’ve been playing my fair share of Worms lately. In reviewing the recently released Worms Collection I’ve played what this generation of Worms titles have to offer, and I found myself a tad frustrated at the similarities of each release.
It’s perhaps a response to such criticisms that Team 17 has put the word ‘revolution’ in the title of their latest game in the legendary 2D artillery franchise. Drastic changes are implied by the title, and whilst Worms Revolution is definitely the best the series has ever offered it’s mostly little tweaks to the formula that are on offer instead game-changing ideas.
As you begin Worms Revolution it quickly becomes clear the franchise’s signature humour is still very much intact. Matt Berry (The IT Crowd) voices a superb tutorial (and sticks around for the rest of the campaign) that will teach you the basics of firing rockets, tossing dynamite and shooting shotguns, and from there you’re on your own to play as you please. Boasting 32 campaign levels and 20 puzzles (and that’s just single-player), Worms Revolution is certainly not a game that’s light on content.
Worms is an old formula for sure, but perhaps for the first time this generation Worms Revolution looks like a current-gen game. The 2D environment is a lot more striking than in previous versions, and there are 3D effects to each level which bring the battlegrounds of Worms Revolution to life. More so than in most franchises, however, presentation isn’t really relevant when judging the quality of a Worms game.
What’s important is how much fun it is blowing up your opponents. It’s a simple pleasure, and yet it’s the basis of one of gaming’s most popular franchises. New weapons feature for Worms players to experiment with, but it’s things like jet-packs, parachutes and ninja ropes that really signify the intended revolution. Positioning your Worms on the destructable battlefields of Worms Revolution is where the real strategy lies. A newcomer can have fun aiming bazookas and firing shotguns, but a seasoned player will know you have to make attempts to out-manoeuvre your opponents as well as outgun them.
New items bring new possibilities, and somehow everything remains balanced and fair in the process. Flying across a map with a jetpack can be an excellent move, but it comes with its drawbacks which ultimately ensure the experience allows for legitimate competition. Within a first-person shooter the power of weapons needs to be balanced, and the same can be said for Worms – so I’m happy to report Team 17 have absolutely nailed it in this regard.
Also on offer are water physics which adds another tactical level to a game of Worms. You can blow up bits of the environment to send it flowing to your opponents, slowly drowning them or even washing them off the map all together. It perhaps doesn’t provide the massive change that was possibly intended, but it fits nicely into the Worms experience and will get you thinking more than usual.
This biggest addition Worms Revolution brings is classes. Standard Worms are now referred to as ‘Soldiers’, and you have the option to send a ‘Heavy’, ‘Scientist’ or ‘Scout’ into battle, each of which coming with their own advantages and disadvantages. Scouts are fast-movers, whilst Heavy’s deal greater damage and Scientists give the rest of your team small health boosts. This adds a tactical layer as you’ll have to choose what combination of classes feature in your four man squad (one of each isn’t always the best option), but the changes they make aren’t particularly massive and this can this feature really could have been explored further.
Multiplayer returns to Worms in this year’s ‘revolution’, and whilst the matchmaking wasn’t as good as it could be from my experience they amount of options given really does boggle the mind. Games are extremely customisable, allowing you to create your own specific rules (like no bazookas, shotguns only or literally anything else you can think of). With such a large community behind Worms this level of customization is great fan service – and really adds to the idea that Worms Revolution is truly a game to be played with friends. It’s a game that can be played on one TV or online if you prefer, and it’s at its most fun when you’re blowing up your friends as opposed to strangers or the AI.
Essentially, Worms Revolution is as good as Worms is going to get in its current formula. It’s the most beautiful, most refined, most balanced title the franchise has ever seen, and even though promises of a revolution were perhaps not fully upheld it’s still well worth downloading whether you’re new to the series or otherwise. This is the culmination of years of work from Team 17, and it’s quite simply the best Worms yet.