Release Date: October 10
Platforms available on: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Developer: Team 17
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
Genre: Turn-based strategy
The Worms series has seen a comeback over the last few years thanks to re-releases of the classic games on modern platforms. As a new generation of gamers have discovered Team 17's unique mix of turn-based strategy and humour, the studio launched a 2010 reboot that left fans new and old feeling like it was simply more of the same. Two years later we now finally have a Worms game that actually feels new with Worms Revolution.
The extra detail allows Team17 to build on the franchise's signature humour, bringing each worm to life with goofy animations or destroying pieces of the background along with the terrain when you cause a particularly powerful explosion.
While the classic Worms formula is still intact, Team17 has built on top and around it in a number of ways. What perhaps seems to be the largest change comes from the introduction of classes. In addition to the standard soldier worm are the new scientist, scout and heavy classes, each with their own unique traits.
Scientists play a support role, making them unable to take much damage while healing all teammates with each turn and gaining a bonus when using support items like sentry guns and electromagnets.
Scouts are the fastest and smallest worms, allowing them to squeeze into tight corners and cover more ground each turn making them excellent for picking up weapon drops, but they have the weakest attack and defensive capabilities in the game. Finally there are the Heavies, which are slow and barely capable of jumping, but can take more damage than the others and pack extra power into every attack.
Mobility and worm placement, on the other hand, is always crucial in a match, making the Scouts and Heavies interesting additions with which the multiplayer community will no doubt find a slew of new strategies to implement.
The environments themselves bring new hazards too, with the inclusion of physics objects. Physics objects come in a variety of forms, from wrenches and lighters to chemical flasks and boxes of rat poison.
Unlike the battlefield terrain, physics objects will retain their shape when shot, making them valuable tools both as platforms and as weapons if you can manage to drop one on an unsuspecting enemy's head. They can still be destroyed if they take enough damage (as well as repaired with the new wrench tool), often with devastating effects on a large surrounding area when they explode.
Water also plays a larger role in Worms Revolution. Battlefields throughout the series have been surrounded by water, causing instant death if a worm falls in, but for the first time water is also a part of the battlefield.
The water is governed by physics, allowing it to pour down hills, pool in holes and splatter when hit with an explosive. A stream of water rolling down a hill can flush a worm right off the map, while a worm caught in a pool will have reduced movement and take damage each turn.
Worms Revolution features new weapons to showcase water's new-found role in the game. The new water pistol sprays a constant stream while water balloon and water air raid can quickly flood an area. These new weapons don't cause any direct damage, making them highly situational in their effectiveness, but in the right hands their strategic uses can be every bit as powerful as the game's more eccentric weaponry.
Weapon and equipment drops will still randomly appear during a match, but that is no longer the only way to obtain the game's more powerful weapons. Unique to Worms Revolution are coin drops, crates that give you money to purchase items during your turn. Considering that standard crates will simply give you a random weapon, the option to buy specific gear can be extremely powerful, and is appropriately rare.
Worms Revolution features a single-player story campaign, spread across 32 missions and four themed worlds. The highlight of the campaign is its satirical nature documentary narration, written by Dean Wilkinson and deftly performed by The IT Crowd's Matt Berry.
Playing against the computer is never as satisfying as human opponents though, so the campaign becomes more of an extended tutorial to help teach new players the ropes. Players can also dive into 20 puzzle levels, which are a more successful single-player diversion as they challenge players to make creative use of the game's arsenal.
Players can even dictate which weapons will be available and whether there will be a turn delay before they unlock, with the option to save your custom weapon settings to use time and again. Want to lock every item except the prod? Go for it. Want to unlock holy hand grenades on the first turn? That works too. The options are at your fingertips.
Players can also customise their squad of worms, deciding which classes to bring into battle, giving them names and styling them with a plethora of hats, accessories and voice options. The PC version adds another layer of customisation through a robust level editor, though Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 players only have the random levels generated by the game.
Worms Revolution's name may be a misnomer, as the latest iteration doesn't stray much from past games. That isn't to say that nothing has changed through. The addition of classes and renewed role of water as a tactical tool bring some much-needed variety, adding new layers of depth to the franchise's strategic topsoil.