In the early 1990s I would often go to my friend’s house to play Scorched Tanks on the Amiga ; the plethora of weapons available and the competitive nature of the game as you honed in your shots with each turn was addictive. So imagine my joy when at the tender age of fourteen, Team 17 released a game that combined all of that with cartoon annelids (worms to the layman), which were all the rage in the mid 90s. It’s been 18 years since then and Worms Revolution Extreme has just been released for the Playstation Vita, but does the formula still add up?
This is a port of Worms Revolution which was released on consoles last year, which took the traditional 2D gameplay the franchise is known for and rendered it with 3D graphics, creating a 2.5D experience. The game has an added gameplay feature in the form of hazards, where water in pockets around the map and objects producing toxic gas or napalm can be used to inflict damage on your enemies; this allows you to really mix up your tactics on the fly!
In single player, the game features four different areas in which to cause maximum wormage across campaign and puzzle levels. The first area in campaign mode is an extended tutorial using a single worm and not introducing team members until the penultimate mission and it does repeat things already covered in the ‘playable intro’ from when you first boot the game. As you progress though the campaign does provide an interesting challenge; more interesting a challenge though, is the puzzle mode. You are provided with certain types of Worm (each of the four kinds, Scientist, Soldier, Scout and Heavy, has different skills and attributes) and limited resources. You have to work your way through the level, collecting resources by any means at your disposal and defeating the opposition; I personally found I learnt more tactics for dealing with devious ground dwellers this way than I did in the tutorials. Both of these modes reward you with credits to spend on customising your worms and squads; ironically, for a game so heavy on tutorial, I found that the customisation options were not well explained and I only worked out that I could mix up my squad for campaign about halfway through the game by trial and error. Worms Revolution Extreme also includes the original Worms Revolution DLC which allows you to smack a fellow worm around an obstacle littered map with a baseball bat, take on more Martians than you can shake a pointy stick at and go on a medieval quest to rescue a King using a parachute and a shotgun. The game also includes online and versus play where you can relive the classic Worms experience with human or AI counterparts and a satisfyingly vast selection of weapons.
Touch controls have been implemented reasonably well, with responsive touch scrolling and slightly lacklustre zoom on the front screen, but with nifty touch aiming using the back touchpad. Graphically the game looks good when you are zoomed into the action, but quickly becomes blocky as you zoom out. The audio is excellent featuring Matt Berry (Douglas Reynholm from The IT Crowd) saying some of the funniest things in a game since Borderlands 2; the additional worm voices in the customisation menu are also good, with my favourites being ‘Pirate’ and ‘Movie Trailer’. The game runs smoothly, with a little slowdown as the AI prepares to take its turn; not surprising given the Jack Baueresque fashion in which it can place a grenade with millimetre accuracy from the other side of the map after bouncing it off two walls…
The game supports cross-save with PS3 version and there are additional bonuses to be collected for combining keys collected in the PS Vita title, with chests that can be collected by your friends in the PS3 version; sadly though, this is not a cross-buy title and at £11.99 I question if it’s truly worth the cost if you already own the PS3 version.
Once you get past the spoon-fed tutorial style of the first area in single player and start exploring the other modes that this game provides, it proves to be a lot of fun, offers a huge variety of options and has lots of replay value… which was exactly why I loved the original 18 years ago.