Originally released for the PlayStation 3 last year, we found Worms: Revolution to be “a game that will appeal more to old school fans, as newcomers will find it frustrating due to its control issues”. Having made the jump to the PlayStation Vita with all three of its DLC packs and a subtle name expansion, does the touch-friendly version prove more at home on Sony’s handheld, or does it open up a whole new can of Worms?
Narrated by faux-nature documenter Don Keystone (Matt Berry - IT Crowd), the campaign mode has four locations, each containing eight levels. The pace starts off extremely slow as it teaches you the basics, and progresses to the more traditional “eradicate the enemy team” stages, but occasionally there’ll be a level where you have to complete a challenge, like make a single Worm take out an entire team using very little equipment. Unfortunately, some of these tend to be more frustrating than anything, as you have to follow a specific path through weapon crates and it can be really unclear which manner you’re expected to proceed.
One of the main hopes for a Vita-based Worms title is how the touch screen integration might come into play, but we’re sorry to report that it’s rather underutilised. Using your fingers allows you to move your field of view around the map, which can also be controlled using the analogue sticks, and incredibly, that’s about it. It's possible to mark a target with your grubby digit for the more precise weaponry in your arsenal, but it’s impossible to be completely accurate as your finger obstructs the screen. It’s debatable as to how “gimmicky” other inclusions, like Angry Birds-style pulling back for power, might have been, but it would be nice to see the title taking more advantage of the handheld’s assets.
As for what makes this version of Worms: Revolution “extreme”, the title’s three pieces of DLC are available from the main menu. 'All the Fun of the Fair' consists of five new "kill all the Worms" levels in fairground-based locations. 'Missions on Mars' provides five fresh, rather frustrating, puzzle levels as occasionally glimpsed in the campaign. But it’s 'Medieval Tales' that is far and away the most interesting addition.
Across all ten stages that the add-on offers, the title takes a decidedly more fantasy RPG turn, as your single Worm is provided with assistance from wizards and completes tasks for a King. The most enjoyable aspect of the additional content is the change of pace. There’s no fearing for your life or trying to finish puzzles by trial and error, rather you make your way through a level at your own speed, reading speech bubbles and completing whatever tasks you have at hand. It’s territory that Worms hasn’t really explored before, and we wished that there was more like it.
Interesting DLC direction aside, the PS3 version’s control issues have managed to wiggle their way onto the Vita edition, too. To steer your Worm, it’s left and right to move, and up and down to aim, which, on Sony’s handheld, is next to impossible courtesy of its tiny analogue stick size, which forced us to exclusively use the directional buttons – and even then we had issues with aiming accurately.
Every fond memory that we have of Worms stems from hectic multiplayer sessions with friends, and, as usual, it doesn’t disappoint. Pass the controller versus mode is available from the get-go, allowing for you to collect fingerprints and DNA from your mates like some sort of mad CSI Pokémon master, and online multiplayer is also thrown into the mix so that you can prevent your shiny black wonder box from getting all held-by-many-people hot.
Aside from the Medieval Tales DLC, Worms: Revolution Extreme is an uninspiring port of last year’s tedious console release that's marred by dodgy controls, a lack of variety, and occasional slowdown. This isn’t the Worms game that the Vita deserves, but as we wait for one to be built from the ground up for the handheld, it'll have to do.