It’s been over 15 years since Team17 unleashed the Worms franchise on an unsuspecting PC market and created a series that would find its way on almost every platform available thereafter. With it’s unique comedic approach to presentation and strategic gameplay elements, Worms has created some die hard fans who clamor for sequel after sequel. With Worms: Revolution Team17 has chosen to not completely reinvent the series but to do a few things along the way that feel new and give the game a new sense of pace and depth. In doing so they’ve created a pretty solid title but they may have alienated new players to the series.
In any Worms game it’s all about strategy and thinking ahead to take out your enemy. Games play out as turn based “chess like” battles and see each player moving their chosen worm and then attacking. Worms: Revolution is no different but there is an added twist. This version of the game features classes which changes not only your Worms speed but also the amount of damage they can take and dish out. Scouts move quick but are weak when compared to the slow moving Heavy who compensates with sheer strength and damage. With four classes total, choosing the proper mix to use is critical to success and even determines which items will be most effective against enemies. The appearance of your worms can also be customized with certain props that will unlock throughout your play.
Also new to the series are certain environmental hazards with each having their own physics. Water plays a major role by being scattered throughout each map. Exploding areas beneath it and causing a flood can lead to enemies being pushed off the map in to the depths below or it can trap enemies and drown them. Other objects such as seashells or zippo lighters are scattered about and can be moved or shattered and can play a tactical role in how you face combat. Overall the addition of these physics based objects change the pace of each round and helps give each a different feel and sense of unpredictability.
The game features both single player and multiplayer. The single player portion features 32 campaign levels and 20 puzzle levels. With each level taking anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes minimum to complete, players have a lot of gameplay in the single player alone. The majority of fun is really not found there however, and is found in the multiplayer. With a pretty ridiculous amount of customization, multiplayer matches can be tailored to how you want to play them. Specific item drops, health, and even movement speed are just a few of the many options that can be adjusted. Gathering a few friends around the TV and battling it out is a lot of fun and satisfying. Poorly placed shots or self suicides lead to priceless laughs and moments that will be talked about for a while.
For veterans of the series Worms: Revolution is a no brainer as it delivers more of the gameplay that fans love and crave. For new players however Worms: Revolution falls flat on its face. The game features an 8 stage tutorial but this only introduces the button inputs and then proceeds to show players what’s new in the series. If you had never played a Worms game then everything is new including just the fundamental rules of play. It doesn’t show player how matches play out with time limits, health, etc. This creates a barrier of entry to new players and I think could eventually hurt the success of the game. The amount of items and slow gameplay doesn’t really give the game a great first impression. As it stands the game requires new players to basically learn from experience and hope that they stick around to gain it.
Worms: Revolution is by no means a bad game. It is a game made for fans. I applaud Team17 for doing an amazing job in delivering that. It isn’t often that a developer listens closely to their community and delivers to their expectations. I just can’t help but get a feeling that this game could have been better for new players. With it’s gameplay already being slow and not overly engaging (especially when playing single player) it is hard to introduce new players to the game especially with the amount of items that are in it. Knowing what each item does and how to effectively use each one can only come from experience and I can’t help but think there’s a better way to deliver that to new players. Ultimately I walk away from Worms: Revolution appreciative of what Team17 created for its fans and series veterans. I just wonder how many more they could have created.