The Worms franchise has been alive for 17 years now, with its first launch back in 1995. I can clearly remember having spent (wasted) many hours on our Pentium 75MHz PC playing the original Worms developed by Team17. For the (very) few gamers in the world who have never heard of Worms, the idea is extremely simple: Two teams control 5 earthworms in a turn-based style that are spread across a set landscape. Each worm has a set inventory of bizarre weapons, which he uses to blow up enemy worms. What earned the original game its success and fan status was its use of humorous banter, cartoon-style animations and weaponry, which included bazookas, grenades, dynamite, fire punch, Kamikaze strike and exploding sheep…yes, sheep.
Worms Revolution is an attempt to bring the franchise into the 21st century by means of updated graphics, adjusted gameplay and a possible storyline.
The game features a handful of different elements and ideas over the existing changes in the previous titles. One of the biggest changes is the move to introduce a 3-dimensional look to a 2-dimensional space, which is illustrated in the characters and gaming landscapes. At the end of the day, Worms Revolution is still categorised as a 2D artillery/strategy game. And, as proven in a few failed efforts to bring the game into the 3D space, Worms will always be a 2D game.
Other successful introductions to Worms Revolution include:
- Dynamic Water: Although water has always played a part in the outcome, players can now select to use water as a form of weaponry. These water-based weapons include water pistols, water balloons and water strikes. The main purpose of these water weapons is to wash enemy worms down a cliff, which in the end causes much greater damage and even death.
- Random Objects: The Worms landscapes have always been littered with various objects players can use to their advantage, some of which are dropped from passing planes at random intervals during a level. These objects were mostly limited to weapons, but have now evolved to other physical objects that you can move around the landscape. These objects can be positioned to protect your worms from airstrikes or whatever else you see fit.
- Class: Worms are now classed into four different categories – scouts, heavies, scientists and soldiers. Scientists heal ally worms during their turn. Scouts are generally smaller than other worms, but are quicker and jump further. Heavies are the slowest, while dealing additional damage. The soldier is the complete, well-rounded worm (basically the original worm). Players can select any combination of worms they wish for each round, provided they can purchase the desired worm.
Worms Revolution offers separate single-player, single-worm gaming modes, something that has long been a lacking feature in previous titles. These missions are tutorial-like, providing novice players an ideal platform to hone their skills. For the experienced gamer, however, this mode is nothing more than a time waster, as the excitement of a multiplayer battle is lost.
As always, the multiplayer mode is the most used and most appealing feature when playing any Worms title. As with many other games (such as Counter-Strike), Worms has more value when playing online than in single-player modes, even when playing a 5-on-5 against the computer.
The title of this, the latest game in the franchise, was meant to indicate a radical change from what we’ve come to expect from Worms. Worms Revolution, however, does not live up to this name. Although there has been an improvement in terms of graphics, and somewhat of a story included in the tutorial mode, the gameplay ultimately remains the same. Despite the blatant marketing of a revolution in the Worms franchise, the game remains quite similar to the original and sequels. As always, the game is filled with humour and silly commentary, from the worms themselves and narrator, Matt Berry (Douglas Reynholm from IT Crowd).
Many would ask the question if yet another version of Worms is required, especially since not much has changed over the years. On the positive side, the game costs around R150 (or $14.99 via Steam), which is relative to the pricing of DLCs and other game patches.
If you’re looking for game to waste a few minutes without needed to think too much, Worms Revolution doesn’t fail in that regard. There’s no better therapy to de-stress than blowing up stuff while having a laugh, all without seeming sadistic.