iPad Game Review: Worms Crazy Golf HD for iPad Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Worms Crazy Golf HD is the unholy union of the venerable Worms franchise and, of course, golf. The finely honed game engine of Worms adapts itself perfectly to the task, although there are some glaring interface and multiplayer issues that take some of the shine off of this potential classic.
As with every computer golf game ever published in the history of ever, taking your shot requires you to select the proper club and then find just the right amount of power necessary to carry the ball where you want it to go, and no further. Also, like other golf games, the more power you employ, the more difficult it is to time the swing. Lastly, knowing the course is absolutely essential to a successful hole. What I'm saying is, don't expect to eagle, birdie, or even make par on your first few playthroughs. This is not a design flaw; it's just golf.
So far so good, however, now comes the “Worms” part, and this is where the dignified game of golf takes a hard left toward crazytown. There are exploding sheep, temperamental greens keepers, surreal landscapes, cannons, sand traps, water traps, coins to collect, crates to open, and a multitude of wacky achievements to boot. If you are easily distracted by shiny objects, you may find yourself completely ignoring the green while you repeatedly go after that gold coin or other treasure. It’s this aspect of the game that really sets it apart. It’s not just a series of holes to play through, it’s worlds to explore. How am I supposed to get my ball way up there? I wonder what would happen if I hit my ball into that cannon? What’s in the crate? I wonder if there’s an achievement for knocking that worm into the water?
The core gameplay is enjoyable on so many different levels that once you’re hooked, you’ll be coming back to this game long after other golf games have been deleted. This is not to say it’s perfect, however. The interface could use some cleaning up. For example, the game cleverly zooms in tightly on your player every time you take a swing. While I am as charmed as the next guy by the graphic detail of my little duffer, I would much prefer to retain a wider view so I can make adjustments to my shot based on wind/distance/whatever. No, this “feature” cannot be disabled. The menus also have an unplaytested feel to them. The club selection button is located in the lower right corner (typically where the “move to next screen” button lives) and you confirm some selections by tapping them a second time. Lastly, the only multiplayer available is pass and play. No Wifi, no Bluetooth, no online, and most egregious, no asynchronous multiplayer via Game Center. A glaring omission, and one that will hopefully be addressed in a future update.
Worms Crazy Golf sports the same cartoonishly beautiful graphics you’ve seen in other games in the franchise. The backgrounds add depth without adding clutter, the colorful terrain is fully deformable, and the animation actually makes it appear that worms would be cute in real life if you dressed them properly. All the iOS interface elements work as expected here, such as pinch to zoom, scroll, etc, and the animation is as smooth as it is comical.
Team 17 has had a long string of successes with their Worms games primarily because they go to great lengths to make them not only fun, but bursting with personality. A good portion of this personality comes from the sound effects and worm voices. The voices, in particular, add a great deal of comedy to the game as they alternatingly critique your play and boast. The collection of available quips is large enough that they thankfully don’t sound overly repetitive. The in-game music is a matter of taste, however. It consists of what can only be described as cheerfully upbeat elevator music. You will either turn it up or turn it off. There really is no middle ground here.
Worms Golf HD is a highly enjoyable addition to the Worms family. If you like Worms games, you’re going to enjoy it; If you like golf games you’re going to enjoy it; and if you like both, you won’t be able to stop playing. The interface could use some tweaking, and the multiplayer needs a major overhaul. However, there is a lot of game here for your $5 and with a bit of work, could become a classic.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Super polished. You can’t play this game without grinning. Sound: - 5 - The sound effects are solid, the voices are funny, and the music fits the game perfectly. Controls: - 4 - The “zoom to swing” feature needs to take a hike, but the interface is smooth and responsive. Gameplay: - 4 - A great single-player experience begging for a great multiplayer experience. Pass and play just doesn’t cut it here, guys. I’m talking to you, Team 17.
Playing Hints and Tips:
A hole-in-one is possible on many of the courses if you can figure out how to best use the tools, powerups, and terrain. Spend the first few playthroughs gathering crates and coins. It’s not all about making par. Experiment and have fun; this is not your father’s golf game (unless your father is me, in which case you’re grounded for being on the internet without permission).