Team17 is a name that might not sound familiar to you, but odds are you have had a run in with them at least once or twice as you grew up playing video games. Being one of the longest surviving indie studios around, they have probably put some content in front of your face before and you didn’t even know it. They have been developing games since 1990 and one game franchise in particular has been their claim to fame. Yes, most of us who have been playing video games for a while have played or at least heard of Worms.
Over the years, more then twenty different Worms games have been released. And since June this year, OS X got the newest version on the Mac App Store. Worms Revolution Mac Deluxe Edition is a bundled collection of Worms Revolution and all of its downloadable content. It takes the Worms we have been playing for years and gives it a few new twists to make it interesting again. Question is, does it add enough to make us want to jump back to our childhood gaming days?
You can get it from the Mac App Store:
[appstore id=616018342 price=9.99]
Enter Worms Revolution for Mac
Worms Revolution plays much like all the other Worms games. You have a team of zany smack-talking worm-like creatures and they have to murder the opposing zany smack-talking worms. Armed to the teeth with the most absurd variety of weapons, your team must exercise mathematical skills and fox-like wit to destroy their enemy before they can stick an explodie sheep on your candy ass. But you already knew all of this didn’t you? What is really at stake here is what’s new. If you were to ask me if I was excited to play Worms Revolution, at first, you could probably have expected me to sneer a bit. Everyone has a certain amount of nostalgia for the series, but if you played one you can just about say you played them all. Obviously, with the release of Worms Crazy Golf the formula changed, but even then the Golf mechanics felt more like a mod rather than a brand new game. Team17 definitely had their hands full, trying to convince me that a new Worms game would be any different than the rest or even worth buying. However… Worms Revolution has me eating my words. While Worms Reloaded had me sighing about the good old days, Worms Revolution has me pleading for a new adventure. Several differences really separate this version from the others. Keeping the same core-mechanics, it plays in a very different way now thanks to two simple additions. The first being a polished physics engine including dynamic objects and water and the latter being a very clever class system for characters to customize your team.
In previous Worms games, you would have a variety of objects like party umbrellas scattered all over the playing field to help randomize and spice up the look of the maps. But when all was said and done, they were really just jagged shapes of ground sticking out. They had exactly the same effects as regular green grass or dirt. In Worms Revolution, items are scattered too but this time they interact when you shoot at them. There are lighters that explode when shot or Poison vials that shatter and infect neighboring worms. You can use tools to pick them up and move them around. They can be utilized to trap worms or build bridges, the sky is the limit. One object stands out though. Water. A vial of water will break and engulf your enemies. This may be the biggest change to come to Worms’s gameplay. While water has always been important in past Worms games, it was never used like this. In Worms Revolution, water is a key to success. You can now use tools to either drown (-5 HP a turn) or slide your enemies into the abyss. Spraying water down the side of a hill will push worms down the face. This strategy is a must in the game, as every level seems to have pockets of water somewhere and if you don’t use it, your enemy will. And that’s why the real strategy begins before the game even starts. Worms Revolution offers the opportunity to assemble a team to suit your style of play. There’s always the classic soldier but now you have three other options. The first option is the “Heavy”, a sluggish fat worm that is slow but hits hard. These worms will deal more damage when shooting and fling enemy worms a lot farther with a hit. Next is the “Scout”, a quick and nimble little worm that can jump higher, farther and move faster. He’s tiny and therefore does not hit very hard nor takes hits very well. Finally there’s the “Scientist”, which is pretty much a must for any formation. They do less damage then a Soldier or a Heavy but make up for it with a key ability. Every round your Scientist is alive, every living worm on your team will get +5 HP. This is crucial when outnumbered. They can also build stronger objects like girders. These classes allow you to play using your strengths. If you are a good shot, load up on Heavies, if you need to get up close to do some damage maybe Scouts are your ticket. Team17 has made the game a little more user friendly in the sense that you don’t have to be a crack shot to win like in older Worms games. Classes really help add strategy to the game. All these things come together to create a fresh new Worms experience.
There’s a lot of content here thanks to the Mac version being a bundled package. Each set of Campaigns play slightly different then the other and you are offered six different campaigns and mini campaigns to choose from. All the of the mission packs seem to have you wildly outnumbered and force you to use your cunning to take out the AI. But this isn’t always achieved in the same way. You have a couple Campaigns that will have you playing a simple deathmatch while others take a more narrative approach giving you just a couple worms to save the king. Lastly, there are some puzzle campaigns that really ask you to use the tools given in a unique way to win. For the most part, I enjoyed the campaigns but I did have a few gripes. The first is the AI not feeling like human at all. Computer players will constantly make unimaginable grenade throws that would have Neo crying about “hoax”. I realize that in games of this nature it’s hard work to make the AI not a pro at everything. However it doesn’t seem like they tried at all. Seems like the only hit probability algorithm coded into the game was the jump rope. If you hide well enough, the AI just skips their turn all the time. My next gripe involves an attempt at ingenuity that failed. Team17 probably realized they have been releasing the same game over and over again. So in the campaigns there are constant attempts to add a story or a narrative. My issue with this is not that they are trying to give a repetitive game some substance but that the execution is lacking. Many times these missions make you feel like you spend more time walking to the next point then actually playing. This makes a repetitive game feel more repetitive. That’s a fail. That being said, I had a lot of fun trying all the different campaigns.
The worms series has always shined in Multiplayer and I personally consider it a primarily Multiplayer game. Worms Revolution right now has been a let down, probably because of a lack of knowledge that it is available for Mac. I could not find a single Multiplayer match for the duration of this review, trying every so often while playing. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the game for this but more so the community. Worms fans unite! Purchase a copy and get online. In the event that I do get to play a few Multiplayer games, I will update this review but for now this is just calling to gamers. If you own it and want to invite me to a game, drop me a line on Twitter @nobodieshero. All I can give you for now is a rundown of the online Game Center functionality built into Worms Revolution. Right now, it features leaderboards, achievements and cloud saving. Obviously, I couldn’t get my name on the leaderboards but I did unlock a few achievements without any issue. It is a well thought out and clever list of goals to strive for if you are into achievements. As for cloud saves, I was constantly going back and forth between my Macbook and iMac and had little trouble with my saves being out-of-date. On one occasion it didn’t load my saves properly but upon opening the game it informed me the dates were out-of-sync and allowed me to select which file to use. All and all it was a good experience.
Worms Revolution is visually the best game it can be. Team17 released Worms 3D way back in the Playstation 2 days and it did make an appearance on Mac but the audience had mixed feelings about it. Something about 3D just didn’t quite suit the Worms experience. However, even when Worms Reloaded came out I was starting to feel tired of the same old look I had seen for years. That 2D flash art just wasn’t cutting it anymore. So I was happy to discover that in Worms Revolution Team17 finally found the perfect sweet spot.
In this version we get all the convenience of 2D environments but still get great life-like 3D looks. By making the jump into 2.5D, Worms Revolution really shows just how beautiful and interactive a Worms game can be. Backgrounds pop with great scenery and beautiful animations and foregrounds look like more than simple paint program brush strokes. Everything seems to have a life to it now. Cut scenes show off how dynamic the world is by zooming and looking behind areas. Everything in the visuals department has that extra polish showing us they care. I will say the water looks and acts more like hair gel then water though.
Ugh! Another situation where I am going to say “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. All the sounds from previous Worms games are here along with some new dialog tracks and more voices. The soundtrack in the background sounds just fine and suits the game really well.
Unfortunately Team17 put a little too much effort and added a voice to do commentary in-game. At first I was intrigued because I knew the voice. It was the boss from the television show The IT Crowd (Matt Berry). Upon figuring it out I began to listen to his “funny” dialog and became annoyed every time he came on. He is not funny in the slightest and, truth be told, I found his voice kind of annoying without the face. I wanted to skip cut-scene but couldn’t because they give hints on how to win. Definitely something to be leave out for the next game or at least find a new voice. I noticed someone else did the voice for the Kingdom type DLC and it was much more tolerable.
Worms is anything but set in stone. The game has always prided itself on its level editor and character costumes. This version is no different, including all the features you would expect and then some. Plus plenty of hats and glasses to make your worms your own. The DLCs offer a slew of great looking landscapes and scenery to create your own levels. There are a ton of different voices and attitudes for your worms as well. Unfortunately, the feature feels kind of empty without the online community. Sure, I get a kick out of putting mustaches on my worms but most of the fun should come when you show them to other people online. None the less Worms offers a playground of visual and audio customization and should be commended for maintaining their own personal brand of “LOL’s“.
Worms was very hit or miss in the performance department. I constantly found myself turning things down or off trying to find a sweet spot where I wouldn’t have screen lag. Mind you, because of the casual nature of the game I often had other social networking applications or internet browsers open in the background but I really was surprised it demanded so much from my high-end Macs. I am no expert but I did find that turning off Ambient Occlusion seemed to take care of most of the problems. Other than that, I had no in-game glitches.
This game has the perfect keyboard control scheme. It worked flawlessly and I stopped using my mouse entirely because the mouse just didn’t work with the UI and I couldn’t pinpoint where I was shooting. As soon as I made the switch, I was satisfied. Aside from occasional issues with the screen flicking from the mouse cursor being at the edge of the screen (just move the mouse), the game was great on my iMac and even better on my Macbook. One other minor gripe is that there was no option to disable the camera from following my worm. Many times, I would move the camera to the perfect position to make a shot and as soon as I would change my shot angle it would zoom back to me and I couldn’t see where I was shooting again. It would be great to see that addressed.
- OS: Lion (10.7.X)
- Processor: 1.7 Ghz Intel
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: 256MB graphics card
- Hard Drive: 2.5 GB Free space
- Additional: Only systems running OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) or above can utilize Game Center features (achievements and leaderboards) and online multiplayer modes. Systems running an OS X pre Mountain Lion (10.8) will not be able to utilize Game Center features and will only be able to access single player and local multiplayer modes only. iCloud save game facility for OSX 10.7.5 or above
- Solid 2.5D Graphics
- Game-changing dynamic objects and water physics
- Great control scheme
- Tons of content
- Well implemented Game Center features
- No Multiplayer community
- Annoying commentary
- Gameplay slowed down by poor story-driven elements
- AI players are freakin’ ninjas
Worms Revolution has added a splash of life to this veteran series in more ways than one. The addition of character classes, water physics and dynamic objects has really changed something we thought we knew. But a dead online community and an AI that is occasionally frustrating may prove to be its biggest enemy. Worms Revolution is possibly the best looking Worms game I have played and probably the most enjoyable since childhood. Sadly, without an online community it will struggle to hold my attention.
You can get it from the Mac App Store:
[appstore id=616018342 price=9.99]
Note from Ric: This review comes from resident Author Adrian Gaucher. You can find him on Twitter here.