Don’t mess with Earthworm Jim if you are a baddy. Back in the day as an earthworm all Jim could do was simply to wriggle in the dirt, and die on the sidewalk on a rainy day. But it all changed that day the evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt lost the Ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit and it feel down to Earth next to Jim. Since that day Jim has been a Superhero, a protector of Earth and a quite successful gaming franchise. This version of Earthworm Jim that I am writing about is a polished version of the original game released back in 1994 for the Sega Megadrive.
Earthworm Jim is a platform shooter with a lot of acrobatics and boss battles. The odd race between the levels slows the progression of the story somewhat. This does not deter Earthworm Jim from his mission to save Princess What’s-Her-Name. On his way he will encounter henchmen of the evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt such as the hilarious Major Mucus and Bob the Killer Goldfish.
There is a lot of humour to Earthworm Jim, something I never saw back in 1994 when I just swore at it being hard, really hard. Now with proper save games, and not worrying about continues I can laugh at both the obvious fart gags, and the more intricate details. Earthworm Jim is fun, and completing hard passages feels rewarding as you get more fun details and variation to the gameplay.
Earthworm Jim likes riding hamsters, traveling underwater in strange glass submarines and jump between hook points using his head. I think Jim is a bit of a psycho really, but a psycho I can love.
Gameloft has managed to recreate the classic, and it doesn’t matter if you played the original on any other console. Earthworm Jim is a quality title for all to be enjoyed.
Presentation and graphics
Earthworm Jim is a beautiful game with a lot of attention to detail. It is smooth on both the 3G and 3GS, even though of course load times are longer for the 3G. Backgrounds are lush and it really feels like distant worlds.
Enemies are varied, and most of them have strange unusual designs such as flying stomachs. There are 12 different enemies in the game, and 9 different bosses. The bosses are great, and you get a small text telling about the weakness and strength before the battle.
At times it is hard to tell enemies apart from the background but when in doubt just blast away, you have enough ammo to take some extra safety shots.
The racing through space on an engine levels lack both variation and graphical effects. They look out of place when compared to the varied cool levels you race between.
Groovy music, groovy sound effects and groovy voices. I love the sound of Earthworm Jim, and replay levels just to listen to the combination of music, and fart sounds of death from some of the enemies. You can play your own playlists from within the game, but why would you want to do that?
Earthworm Jim is a really hard game; thankfully Earthworm Jim is a really hard worm. There are puzzles in the game, not many and quite frankly once you figure them out you will laugh at them. Prior to entering a level you get a page showing what the level contains. This image also gives you hints on how to solve puzzles. For example you might see that you have to walk on diamonds to enter portals for some level. It is still easy to miss out on these hints, and I spend 10 minutes trying to jump over a monkey in a tight corridor. I was simply supposed to… Once I looked at the image I laughed at myself for not understanding.
Platformers have been a bit weak when it comes to controls but to me Earthworm Jim manages quite well with them. You get to choose either a virtual joystick or a digital pad to control Jim. Both work really well, and I prefer the d-pad due to it feeling more retro to use for a game like Earthworm Jim. I usually have more trouble hitting the correct action button as the whip, gun and jump buttons are located next to each other in the lower right hand corner. Still it is easy to just have a look at where my thumb is and adjust the position.
Earthworm Jim is equal amounts of shooter and platform jumping bonanza, and this is a great ratio making the game fun at a high pace. It takes some time learning to jump, and whip Jim’s head towards a hook letting him jump even further. This is old-school gaming where practise makes perfect, and thankfully the controls aren’t interfering. To me Earthworm Jim controls way beyond my expectations.
That is until we have to get into the racing courses that are boring, and sluggish to control. You control Jim by tilting your iPhone, and you can set the sensitivity of the accelerometer in the menu. You have to collect orbs while avoiding rocks, and at the same time beat your opponent to the goal. I tried just letting the game run, but I lost so you at least know that you have to steer to win. There are speed boosts to pick up giving you speed enough to actually smash through rocks. Once you win the race you get to play the next level. If I could choose I would remove the racing levels of the game completely as they interfere both with the story and pacing of the actual game. Still the racing was part of the original, and back then it was so much harder if I remember correctly.
There are 4 levels of difficulty including the original masochistic difficulty. I can see myself playing this game for a long time as it is so much fun. It is hard, yes, but it is also really rewarding. Once you complete that hard series of jumps, and reach that coveted checkpoint you will feel like a worm dressed in a ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit on a mission to save Princess What’s-Her-Name.
Each level shows the quickest time you completed it, and speed runs are fun to better those times. You also get achievements for completing levels, killing stuff and generally being wonderful. These are part of the Gameloft Live service, and you have to log in to see them. I got most of them on my first completion, but I guess I have to complete the harder difficulties as well. I swear on my wriggly wormy head that I will at least try.
Earthworm Jim is a quality title filled with humour and great gameplay. My initial worries about controls were unfounded, and I have had a blast and will keep having a blast playing Earthworm Jim. No matter if you have a past with Jim or not I can recommend this game as one of the best most polished games for the iPhone.