How the worm has turned.
Aside from rereleasing some of the most games of the late 90s and early 2000s onto consoles, Team 17 have been rather silent over the past few years. Once one of the stalwarts of the British video game industry, a rare example of a studio which hasn’t amalgamated into a gigantic, throbbing hivemind then taken out behind the bins and shot, or simply fizzled out of existence. Team 17 instead have adapted to suit their means whilst still staying true to their roots. Neither radically re-imagined like Rayman, or unfortunately absent like Crash, Worms Revolution represents the studio’s impressive ability to adjust for the times, not only being the first iteration to be designed specifically for this generation but Team 17’s first ever non-retail game.
Worms Revolution presents itself with a three-pronged attack: Matt Berry, environmental water and a class system. Berry, known for his lacklustre Chris Morris impression in The IT Crowd and exactly the same bit-part character in The Mighty Boosh, his most definable quality being his voice. On paper, this is a marriage made in heaven and with even barely-adequate writing it should work without a hitch but somehow it just doesn’t. His delivery lacks any comic timing, both heavily stressing largely irrelevant words whilst neglecting those which matter. The writing isn’t exactly bad either, unlikely to win any awards but on such a budget, nobody is at fault other than Berry himself.
Environments have been given a very welcome visual upgrade too; surfaces now possess the cloth-finish of LittleBigPlanet, with similar explosions to boot. The environmental damage, again, is far more believable, also impacting on the plane behind the 2D one in which the Worms inhabit, giving further depth. Much effort has also been put into background action, tailored to one of four themes, bringing each level to life, giving it a little context however unnecessary it may be. They’re not exactly varied in terms of theme, but given that Worms has never been particularly hot for this, it’s a rather welcome addition with equally relevant music to match.
Water now exists beyond the Boggy depths of the death lake, now encased within the level itself. Providing an extra dimension to gameplay, water now acts in a similar fashion to poison, granting a -5 health penalty for each turn spent underwater whilst also limiting worm’s movement. The water physics aren’t half bad either, little water globules engulfing worms with a smack of A Bug’s Life and washing them to a wet death. Aside from water, objects now inhabit the environment as more than destructible shapes, many of which move when struck, some emitting poison, water or a gigantic explosion. These doesn’t impact on gameplay heavily, but help to make Worms Revolution feel a little more modern and current.
Classes now worm their way into Revolution for the first time, each with a distinct silhouette. The Heavy, hilariously bloated in size and movement, soon to turn into a beautiful butterfly, has larger health and understandably packs more of a punch. Scouts are petite and swift, inhabiting the nooks and crannies which other worms can only dream of, at the expense of health. Morbo’s formidable forehead belongs to the Scientistic worm, granted health bonuses and additional turret damage. Also is the solider, your Boggy standard classic worm. Evident is the fact Team 17 have spent much time making each unique, whilst all still possessing an indefinable oblivious charm in their movement and demeanour, inching along with nary a care in the world, soon to be Concrete Donkey’ed into submission.
One trick which seems to have been missed a lack of new weapons, few and far between but with our old favourites returning, except for the ludicrous Armageddon. The key addition is Boggy B, the stalwart hero of all wormkind, with a move not entirely dissimilar to Solid Snake’s final smash in Super Smash Bros Brawl. His ability to throw a grenade anywhere on the map can cause unexpected havoc, at the expense of a King’s ransom, also serving an excellent final insult to your enemy. The Plughole drains water from given area, useful for those living below the water line, harking back to the very charms which endeared us to Worms in the first place. The detail of many of these weapons is a treat for the eye too, be it the shockwave caused by some of the larger explosions, or the lovely particle physics brought on by missile trails and explosion smoke.
The biggest disappointment is the inclusion of ‘Memes’ as a choice of worm voice, previously one of the most humorous portions of worms, although in reality more a hideous indictment of 2012 than worms themselves, it’s just a shame to see such a cancerous growth penetrate a previously untouched bubble of sanctuary. Some buttons are also a little unintuitive, zoom happens in stages rather than being continuous, although this is a minor niggle at the very worst.
A Worms Revolution this isn’t, but what it is is Worms. Add a friend or three and you’re still unlikely to have more fun kicking 6 shades of grey out of each other than on any other game. Perhaps guilty of merely wallowing in the waters of its forefathers but what better to wallow in than a pool of dead worms?
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
It's 2D Worms, polished, spruced up and well worth the pricetag.
Matt Berry's voiceover grates and a lack of new weapons
Add a friend or three and you’re still unlikely to have more fun kicking 6 shades of grey out of each other than on any other game.