The Worms series has been around since 1995, and Revolution is the 16th game in the long-running, turn-based artillery game. That’s a lot of games in a single series, and that’s even excluding the numerous spin-offs that piggyback off the recognisable IP. With such a lengthy history, it’s unsurprising that the team behind the games constantly have to innovate. Whether it be new weapons, a new art direction, the addition of forts, a shift from 2D to 3D and then back to 2D, with every new entry into the series Team 17 has their work cut out for them.
Worms: Revolution continues this tradition. It’s still essentially the same game: two teams of four worms face-off against each other in turn-based warfare with a bizarre mix of outlandish weaponry. There are, however, some new mechanics that aim to breathe new life into the series. Whether or not those additions manage to do that is what really matters.
Visually, Worms: Revolution is a 3D game, but it is (thankfully) played out on a 2D plane. Physics, water and worm classes are the new additions to Revolution. On top of your stock-standard worm you get to unlock three variants: Scientists, Heavies and Scouts. Each class differs in appearance (you’ll have to squint to see what’s what if you zoom out from the battlefield) and brings a particular set of skills to the front line.
Scientists are rather weak with ordinary weaponry, but the more science-y weapons are more effective in their hands – or whatever worms use to hold things. For example, the sentry gun does extra damage if deployed by your Scientists. Furthermore, after a Scientist’s turn is over, he’ll grant five hit-points to each of your worms. Heavies are slow, cumbersome worms but they pack extra firepower and do more damage with each weapon. Scouts are small and nimble, which makes them excellent for covering vast distances in a short amount of time. They can also jump higher and further, which makes them extra useful when snaffling up the numerous crate drops. The Scouts’ caveat is that they’re the weakest of the bunch. Your fourth worm class is the standard and familiar worm that can now be considered a jack-of-all-trades; they’re now referred to as Soldiers. You’re free to mix your team as you want, so you could have a team of three Soldiers and one Heavy or two Scientists, one Scout and one Soldier for example.
The new physics elements are restricted to certain objects on the battlefield, so don’t expect portions of the terrain to fall away beneath your worms if large chunks of the ground are blown away by explosions. There are four terrain themes in the game, and each theme has a set of physics objects. These objects are much bigger than the worms, and they react to weaponry impacts and explosions. You might, for example, blow up an outcrop that has a giant spanner balancing on it; this would cause the spanner to topple from its precarious ledge and damage whichever worm is unfortunate enough to be in the way. Other physics objects, like swollen puffer fish, will take a few hits before bursting noxious gas all over the area. As you can guess, this lends itself to some rather devious tactics.
One of the more interesting additions in Revolution is water and water-based weaponry. Certain levels will have puddles and damns of water that can slosh around the level and drown unsuspecting worms. The water’s physics are a little odd as it behaves more like jelly than anything else. Be that as it may, it’s rather satisfying flooding a ditch with a well-placed stick of dynamite and watching a newly submerged enemy worm take constant damage after each turn. Then you get all sorts of water weapons like water balloons (thrown like grenades), water guns and water air strikes.
Worm customisation remains although there aren’t as many options as previous games in the series. There’s a set of single-player missions as well as a set of clever puzzle levels, with the latter being the far superior single-player offering. Then your usual, couch-based multiplayer and online multiplayer make a return. I occasionally battled to find an online opponent, but creating a game normally resulted in fairly rapid match-making.
Worms: Revolution represents a solid Worms experience. If you haven’t picked up a Worms game in a few years then it’s definitely worth jumping back in with this title. As it stands, Worms: Revolution, as with all the Worms games before it, makes for an excellent party game and you’ll battle to find another IP that scratches that turn-based itch quite as well as this one does. That being said, I’m left with the feeling that perhaps this series is getting a little long in the tooth.