Worms Revolution hands-on
Since 1995, developer Team17 has been delivering consistently satisfying strategy experiences across the PC, home consoles, and even handhelds with its Worm series. Simply put, these games offer up a nice combination of lighthearted themes and engaging artillery-based gameplay. Worms hasn’t exactly evolved all that dramatically over the years (with the exception of the 3D games), but it’s added plenty of refinements and nuances to keep players coming back for more. After spending some time playing the upcoming Worms Revolution, I can certainly attest to the fact that fans of the series new and old may just find plenty of enjoyment in this exploding worm fest.
The game is presented on a 2D plane, providing a much more traditional experience compared to the handful of 3D Worms games that were released a few years ago. Because of that, the game feels like a joyously old school-influenced affair. That’s not to say that Team17 crafted an archaic game, because that’s definitely not the case. Instead, Worms Revolution harks back to the artillery strategy gameplay that the series has always been known for, but it also presents some new challenges, weapons, and gameplay enhancements to feel noticeably fresh.
I jumped right into the single-player campaign mode and was immediately thrust into an eight-stage tutorial. To be perfectly honest, I felt that this introduction dragged on for a bit, but at the same time, the tutorial will definitely come in handy if you’re a newcomer to the series. You’ll learn the ropes of worm warfare as you’re guided through the training missions by Don Keystone, an offbeat wildlife documentary star who goes out of his way to make your worms feel like heroes – heroes who probably don’t have much time left on this earth. Keystone’s commentary throughout the tutorial is remarkably funny, and it certainly kept me entertained the entire time.
After you complete the tutorial missions, which feature pushover enemies who just stand there and let you blow them to bits, the real portion of the campaign starts. Hostile worms are armed with a wide array of weapons including bazookas, grenades, and shotguns, and they’re not afraid to use them. Because battles are turn-based, you need to really find a strategy that works for you. It’s best to avoid facing the onslaught head-on one worm at a time, because the last thing you need is to be a sitting duck on enemy territory while four opposing worms surround you.
Using the different weapons at your disposal is a sheer joy. You’re not just limited to guns and projectiles, either. As you progress, you can pick up a number of devastating weapons such as the bunker buster and even explosive sheep, a staple of the series. While the combat mechanics are highly rewarding, it’s the worms that really make the experience fairly memorable. As you and your AI-controlled enemies take turns pummeling each other, you’re treated to some high-pitched remarks courtesy of the worms themselves. Oftentimes, Worms Revolution even makes references to other games, as evidenced by cries of “fatality!” and “hadoken!”
Water plays a much bigger role in this latest Worms outing. Several areas, for example, feature pockets of water. Putting a decisive crack in these structures with a well-placed bazooka shot will result in flooding that causes a bit of damage every turn to any worms that may be submerged. It works both ways, though, and enemy worms will attempt to send water flowing your way. If you happen to get caught underwater, you’ll have to get your worms on dry land as soon as possible so you won’t risk losing a soldier. (Yes, these comical little guys are definitely battle-hardened soldiers.)
In addition to the campaign, Team17 has also added a puzzle mode. These missions aren’t exactly puzzles. Instead, you’re tasked with certain objectives such as killing two enemies at once or punching a worm into a pit with a landmine in it. I imagine this will be more of a distraction to the main single-player game, but it may still prove to be a nice little time sink.
Of course, most people who play Worms Revolution will be stoked to jump right into the multiplayer. The game is fully loaded with local and online options so you can blow up your friends or complete strangers if you so desire. There’s even a level editor being thrown in for good measure, which I assume will be used to create some truly harsh battlefields for the titular worms to brutalize each other on.
Team17 definitely seems to have created yet another pleasant entry in its long-running franchise. With enjoyably-paced action, hilarious commentary from Don Keystone throughout, and a bevy of single-player and multiplayer modes, this title will easily appeal to longtime fans. Alternatively, the game may also provide enough action for newcomers to really jump into and enjoy. If you’re looking for a healthy dose of turn-based strategy worm warfare, watch out for Worms Revolution on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC on October 10.
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