Worms Crazy Golf Hands-On Preview – Do Worms Really Want to Get a Birdie?
Written Sunday, October 16, 2011 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
When we first caught wind of Worms Crazy Golf, we were a little confused. Worms has always been about blowing up other worms, not about chipping a ball onto a green to the sound of gentle clapping. Imagining a worm with a golf club rather than a bazooka in its hands just seems wrong, and not because worms don't normally have hands. Having actually played Worms Crazy Golf, we're completely enamoured by that old Worms charm though, and the fundamentals are largely still the same with the power and trajectory of shots playing a vital role as always. There's three 18 hole courses to play in Worms Crazy Golf, each with their own taxing challenges to overcome. It's a unique combination of sports and puzzling, or what Team17's Head of Design, John Dennis calls a “spuzzle” game. That could catch on, y'know.
Surprisingly, golf is a perfect fit for Worms, adopting the classic 2D side-scrolling perspective for lining up your shots, which are guided by a dotted line. Getting your shot just right is easier said than done though, and lining up your crosshair for the perfect arc is a fine art, especially when you incorporate Worms Crazy Golf's 'utilities' into the mix, which are effectively the game's weapons, enabling your ball to travel further and behave in a variety of weird and wonderful ways. Utilities can be deployed while the ball is in mid-flight and you select which one you'd like to use before taking your shot by bringing up a menu using the circle button. From here you're presented with a selection of six utilities to choose from, including the self-explanatory parachute, blast shot, heavy ball, reverse gravity, time slow and bouncy ball.
You can then select the best club for the job from a menu of four including the driver, iron, wedge and putter, accessed via the square button. Then it's time to line up your shot and power it up. There's a choice of two power bars in Worms Crazy Golf, including the classic three-click golf power up bar, or the equally classic Worms 'hold down the button' power bar, comprised of three colours. Most of the bar is green, but you'll ideally want to let go of the button in the yellow area at the end of the bar for an 'overdrive' shot. Doing this causes the ball to travel further, but it can be risky as stopping the needle in one of the red zones either side of the perfect yellow overdrive area results in a fluffed swing.
With all of the requisite information and instructions we need, we take up a driver in our wormy hands and use the right analogue stick to move the camera around to view the pin we need to get our ball to and then select the parachute utility. Zooming in and out with R1 and R2, we adjust the trajectory of our shot and then power it up, thwacking it skywards towards the hole, deploying the parachute, applying some forward spin by rotating the left stick clockwise. The ball drops too far ahead of the pin though, so we reverse our stick twiddling for a bit of backspin to drag the ball towards the hole. There's no escaping it though... It was a rubbish shot. Continuing the great 'pass-the-pad' tradition of previous Worms games, we watch as the other three players struggle to make the parachute work in their favour, cracking up with laughter with each turn, and by the next hole we've already mastered the method, sinking a lovely hole-in-one.
Worms Crazy Golf still has that Worms spark and that inimitable sense of humour that Team17 has made its own over the years. Each of the three courses – the lush green Britannia course, the spooky Graveyard and The Goonies-inspired Pirate Cavern – are full of that trademark personality too, with single-player offering various challenges and coins to collect for purchasing customisation items, like new golf ball designs, silly hats, new speech banks and all of the usual Worms accoutrements you'd expect. Single-player also features a load of challenges too, including vertical courses that'll require strategical use of all your limited utilities to navigate, and there's even a separate Challenge Mode with objectives to complete like 'keepy-uppy', target challenges, chip-in challenges, time attacks and skill shots.
Each course also has its own hazards and obstacles to navigate, including worms hanging around the fairways, sheep (naturally), cannons, moles that steal your ball, old ladies and other stuff that can ruin your handicap. Worms Crazy Golf is only a few days away from release on the PlayStation Network, but after dabbling with the local multiplayer (there's no online multiplayer, unfortunately), we're entirely convinced that it's a brilliant departure from the core Worms games, putting a 9-iron in a worm's hand and letting the chaos ensue. The potential for rivalry and much mirth between friends is huge - much as you'd expect from any Worms game - but we had no idea that Worms Crazy Golf would be every bit as raucously fun as the rest of the Worms series. By that virtue alone, Worms Crazy Golf is awesome, and well worth hitting the links with next week.
Worms Crazy Golf is coming to the PlayStation Network on October 19th in Europe and October 25th in North America. A fourth Carnival course will be available as free DLC soon. Fore!