They are back, and this time they tackle the vicious game of golf. Err, what the heck? Yes it is true, Worms has gone golf. Instead of bazookas, grenades, banana bombs and sheep bombs you get to play around with drivers, irons, wedges and putters. To me this is a bit of a surprise since I have been busy killing other worms for the past 20 years, and now I am stuck with a pacifist game.
The gameplay in Worms Crazy Golf combines the controls, and point of view of the earlier games with the rules of ordinary golf. Sure there are a lot of zany obstacles, portals and cannons. Taking a shot is an easy process. First you choose your club from a meagre selection of driver, irons and wedges. Then you simply aim by dragging the crosshair around your worm. A trajectory is shown for the maximum power. Once content you touch, and hold the ball in the lower right corner until you get the power you want. Release to shoot, but avoid the red areas of the power meter that means a complete failure. Between the red areas on the power meter you get overdrive shots adding quite a lot of power. Once in the air you can swipe back for backspin, and forward for forward spin. The controls are easy to get into, and easy to master sufficiently to be able to score below par with ease. There is an alternative method for the power mechanic, and it is just as useful.
The level design is initially quite simple, but soon it ramps up in zaniness. Cannons that allows for extra free shots can entered, teleports and cable cars. Hitting a moving cable car is really hard because the game zooms in on the golfer while you are taking the swing. There are quite a few of these obvious imperfections to the gameplay experience. Another is the fact that the game is slowed down significantly between shots because of a teleport animation of your worm. At times the game feels unfinished, and more love and play testing would have made it a much more polished deal.
Much thought has been put in creating levels that challenge you to find the best route. Should you aim for the shortcut, or for the long shot that connects with a cannon? Magnets, wind and switches also need to be taken into consideration. At times the game is more of a puzzler than a sports game, and at those times the game really shines. It is truly rewarding pulling off a cool stunt shot that lands on an old lady that bat it on with her cane landing you a hole in one. Animations when you place the ball in the hole are also cool, and you really feel an urge to do well.
Coins and bonuses earned during levels can be used to upgrade clubs, and balls. It is a neat addition, but still quite toned down. Overall the story mode is more of an ordinary level progression without much to it. Thankfully it is fun to beat new courses, and set new records. When playing a level for the first time I generally skip trying to beat par, and go for other goals. These can include hitting sheep, collecting money and collecting boxes. Goals equal more money, yes.
One part that is polished is the presentation with bright rich backgrounds, cool worm animations and a great attention to detail. Worms, and sheep getting blown up is still a hoot. The music is upbeat elevator muzak that will drive about half of the gaming population nuts, and the other half mesmerized. As always sound effects, and the small voices of the worms are top notch.
When I got the question if I wanted a code for the iPhone or iPad version I took a look at the press release, and said iPad. It has a hotseat multiplayer mode for up to four local players. It sounded great, but sadly the implementation is really poor. There is no interaction between the players, and if you make a bad driver shot you have to keep going until you score. This slows the game down to a crawl at times when three have to wait for the fourth player to get to the hole. I am really disappointed in this subpar multiplayer experience that should have been the backbone of the iPad version. And it should be just as playable on an iPhone. Having no asynchronous online multiplayer is also a glaring omission.
Worms Crazy Golf HD for iPad is a fun single player experience that takes some of the best of the worms series, and applies it to golf. At times it feels that more could have taken from the classic turn based war game, and especially for the quite boring local multiplayer. Great presentation, loads of courses and game modes, Game Center integration and nice controls still makes it an easy game to recommend. And hopefully it will improve further with updates, at least I hope so.
Worms Crazy Golf HD $4.99 iPad only
Seller: Team 17 Software, Limited.