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Worms Crazy Golf
Score: 67%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Team 17
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Sports (Golf)/ Arcade/ Platformer (2D)

Graphics & Sound:
Worms Crazy Golf is one of those download titles that has an appeal that runs the gamut of possibility. No doubt, fans of the little characters will enjoy both the visuals and the audio, but coming from the perspective of someone who has... cough, cough... never played a Worms game prior to this, there is a lot of repetition that loses its cuteness relatively quickly.

The cartoony, stylized look of Worms Crazy Golf is quite good in that the painted imagery is unique and visually pleasing in nearly every aspect. The wormy characters take on their own personality, although the animations are fairly limited in the game. Other characters and animals follow suit, being both artistically appealing, yet repetitive in nature.

Part of the fun and humor comes from the audio found in the Worms franchise. Once again, with Worms Crazy Golf, the cuteness of a worm blowing himself up and screaming "kamikaze" in a high-pitched voice wears off after the first few holes. Had the developers thrown in more variation, the game would certainly have had more of a positive impact from the audio front. Sound fx are pretty good, from the simple swing of the club hitting the grass to the ball ping-ponging off sheep like bumpers in a pinball table... but again, there are also few different sounds, keeping things repetitive.


Gameplay:
Worms Crazy Golf is one of those games that looks like a great idea on paper, but really doesn't translate as well on the screen. I want to clarify and mention that the game certainly is enjoyable to play, but they game offers very little replay value. You'll take control of your worm, which can be created in a basic player-create screen, and have to set out on a mission to get through all 18 holes on each of 4 courses. (Note: At the time of this writing, there was a course available as a free download as well.)

Lacking arms, the worms are allowed four clubs: the driver, an iron, a wedge, and a putter. The balance of the club differences are pretty well defined, and are usually chosen for you correctly as you approach each shot. However, this is something to pay attention to throughout the game, because sometimes this suggested club may not be the best for the situation, depending on the route you want to take from tee to hole.

An interesting fact about many of the numerous holes throughout the game is that there is often more than one way to get to the green. In fact, the game invites you to do so by placing coins throughout as a challenge to recover all of them on each and every hole. This is basically not possible in one sitting because of the shot requirements, so it will require playing each hole multiple times. There is also a crate to collect, and this is usually in a precarious spot that may need a precision shot to get at.

Worms Crazy Golf does also offer up five different Challenges, ranging from timed shots to trying to bounce the ball off as many objects as you can in one shot. These can be entertaining at first as well, and probably offer more overall replay value than the golf game itself because you will basically be competing against yourself and the times and scores you've previously posted. In addition, the game offers up a Multiplayer Mode where up to four players can play a stroke play match on as little as one controller.


Difficulty:
As mentioned, Worms Crazy Golf really has a lot of repetitious gameplay, and as such, doesn't offer up that much difficulty once you get the hang of things. The swing meter is very, very basic, which will certainly make this title easily approachable by a wide range of gamers and non-gamers alike, but that also means it's easily mastered. The game also shows a faded-out trajectory line that takes most of the guesswork out of the upcoming shot.

The real difficulty of the game comes from analyzing each hole's layout and determining not only the best path to give yourself a chance at holing the ball as quickly as possible, but also the strength in which you must swing the club on each shot. Because of the contour and layout of the land, sometimes you may have to thread a needle or land the ball to set up a more difficult second or third shot. Each hole requires that you sink the ball with at least a par, because anything higher will not allow you to unlock the next hole on the course.

There are also some environmental factors that will influence the ball, and once in a while, your decision of how to proceed with the most efficiency. Some of these include other worms, sheep, cannons, and magnets, among others. When your ball hits any of these objects, the results can either hurt or help, but always have an affect on the ball. Your golf ball will bounce off worms, and if close enough to them when they proceed to blow themselves up, will either shoot away or fall down into the resulting hole in the ground. Hitting a group of sheep will cause your ball to bounce rapidly off and can cause it to pinball around for a while. Cannons allow you to take a long power shot, but you'll have to time the swing of the base to aim correctly, and magnets will both repel and attract your ball.


Game Mechanics:
This title has a very limited, user-friendly control scheme that should allow just about anyone to pick up and play, young and old. You'll simply aim your path, which is visible to a degree, either left or right on this 2D side-scrolling golf course. From there, you'll pick your altitude angle, and swing by way of a very simplified swing meter control.

Worms Crazy Golf is a mildly entertaining game that will capture your attention for a while. The cute nature of the worms and the environment may have you smiling, but the silliness of the game will quickly wear off, leaving the only reason to play being an attempt to collect all of the coins and the crates that got left behind on the hole. After the holes get unlocked by recording a par or better, you can go back to any of them in an effort to clear all of these collectibles.

One thing I fail to understand is why Worms Crazy Golf sells for ten dollars on the PSN, and as low as three dollars at other sources (like the iPad, etc.). This is another reason that I fail to find as much value in the game for the PlayStation... because there is a BIG difference in dropping $10 vs. $3.

Unfortunately, for what could have been a far more entertaining game had it included more courses and certainly more multiplayer matches or modes, its replay value feels quite forced, yet still very limited. After clearing the course of its pick-'em-ups, there's really nothing left to accomplish save for a few Challenge Mode games and the basic Multiplayer. You can, however, download a new course even at the time of this writing. So if the developers offer more courses as time goes on, Worms Crazy Golf will gain back a bit more replay value, at least in small, worm-sized chunks. Just note that the trophy room gives the appearance that additional courses will not be a part of this game. Only time will tell, and I would suggest only picking this game up if you're looking for a good title that can be played here and there to pass the time.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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