What do a bunch of psychopathic worms do on their days off? Play crazy golf of course.
Whilst I was sitting and playing the most recent Worms game, Worms Ultimate Mayhem, I found myself yearning for something new from our favorite psychotic annelids. I have a great fondness for Team17’s Worms games, they have been in my life for a long time, but I just felt it was time for something new. Then along came Worms Crazy Golf on iOS, PSN and Steam. It may not be the massive departure from the classic Worms games, with the decidedly similar gameplay and the courses that look as random as the randomly generated battlegrounds that we know and love. But it is different and above all fun, what more could we want?
When you really consider it, the worms games are not too far removed from golf games anyway. You take aim and decide on the strength of your shot/hit, and take into consideration the direction and strength of the wind when trying to reach your target. The mechanics have always been more golf-like than anything else, so it makes sense that a golf game would work, and crazy golf is the perfect subject for a bunch of worms.
Packing in three 18-hole courses filled with craziness, the game is not short of content. In the single player campaign mode, the player is required to score Par in order to unlock the next hole. They are also encouraged to collect crates and coins, and assault groundskeepers, old ladies, sheep or anything else that may be wandering the course in order to score bonus points. The courses have a randomness about them that will often present problems when trying to achieve Par, but the player can replay courses as often as required and get to keep any loot they obtain in each of their attempts, especially handy as getting the often out of the way crate is generally impossible if the player is trying to get Par.
Being crazy golf, the courses are littered with different objects that can both hinder or help the player. Attracting or repelling magnets can both throw a ball off course or pull the ball in the required direction. Cannons can be used to reach inaccessible areas or to break through destructible blocks. Hit the ball into a castle and the ball will re-appear from another castle. Cable cars can transport the ball along a given route. Even such score boosting hazards as old ladies can angrily hit your ball further along the course. Often times it is the use of these objects that makes achieving Par possible, forcing the player to carefully plan their assault on the hole.
The actual mechanics will be familiar to anyone who has played a Worms game before. Selecting from the different club types, the player chooses their trajectory and then holds down the power button, releasing it when the required power is reached. The power bar has to red marks which, if the button is released whilst the marker is on them, will result in a bad shot. Releasing between the two red marks will result in a super powered shot that will go further than perhaps the player wanted, so again careful planning is required. As previously mentioned, the player also has to take into account the wind direction and speed before taking a shot, although as with everything else, the wind can be used to the players advantage.
Every few holes, the player will be given challenge levels to try and complete. These levels are often played against a time limit and will see the player trying to achieve as many skill shots a they can, such as by taking out groups of sheep or hitting the ball into a target zone from different starting points. The challenges offer a bit of variety and, as the name suggests, can actually be quite challenging.
Of course, where would a Worms game be without multiplayer? Don’t get too excited though, the turn-based multiplayer golfing action can only be enjoyed on a local level with the players dutifully taking their turns to hit the ball, much like any other golf game. The lack of an online mode is a shame as the game is quite good fun in multiplayer, but thems the breaks.
Then there are the collectibles and customisation that are also a staple of the Worms games. The players Worm can be fully individualised with hats and such. There are also different items that can be unlocked to help with the game, such as a watch that slows time. These collectibles are a great encouragement to keep the player coming back for more.
The lack of online multiplayer aside, there is very little else that is wrong with this game. The difficulty curve can be a bit harsh at times, but the game has an addictiveness that will keep the player coming back and giving it another try. Worms Crazy Golf is not the greatest departure from the standard Worms gameplay, but whilst we are all waiting for the hopeful re-imagining of the Worms franchise, this is a nice diversion.
With classic Worms humour in a different setting, and plenty of content (especially with the free Carnival Course pack now available on PSN), Worms Crazy Golf is certainly worthy of your time and money. Pick it up and prove to yourself that Worms do not have to be killing other Worms to have fun, although a golf ball makes a surprisingly satisfying weapon.