Worms Crazy Golf – Review

Title   Worms Crazy Golf
Developer  Team17 Software
Publisher  Team17 Software
Platform  PS3, PC (Reviewed), iOS (Reviewed)
Genre  Sport
Release Date  26th October, 2011

Time to thwack off. Ahem.

I’ll level with you. I’ve never been the biggest fan of golf. Despite all of my father’s attempts to get me into the sport, it didn’t ever really fascinate me. It’s not very interesting to play, and watching it is usually enough to bore me into a coma. Golf isn’t exactly a pick up and play sport either, and not many people are going to have the time and patience to start caring about the difference between a pitching wedge and a lob wedge. On the whole, golf games tend to provide nearly the same amount of boredom and tedium, only with less walking.  With that in mind, what if I told you there was a golf game where the player travels to the ball via teleport? Where sheep roamed the courses and your ball could suddenly open a parachute before hitting an old lady or causing a pirate to explode? What if the golfers also happened to be worms?  Enter Team17′s Worms Crazy Golf, where it’s not the size of your club, but how you use it.

As you start the game, you can choose to go with a previously created Worm, or generate one of your own. Even though there’s something fun about creating your own character with an appropriately terrible worm-based pun in their name, they can all be customised extensively and can all use items that another worm unlocks. What ends up being one of the more important customisation decisions is how you swing: ‘Classic Worms’, or ‘Classic Golf’. The former option relies on the player to hold down the shot command and let go when the power gauge is at the desired spot, and the latter has you pressing once to start swinging, and again to let rip. It’s important to see which option best suits your style, but I found that the ‘Golf’ option generally provided more accuracy and precision overall, which is all important if you don’t want to screw up your shot.

Each swing you line up will display the ball’s projected arc, and the further up the gauge the power goes, the more accurate the resulting shot will be. The challenge lies in making sure that you don’t end up accidentally hitting the red, as your worm will have then spectacularly wasted their shot. Between each red zone is the ‘Overdrive’ – an all-powerful shot that can send the ball flying further than it could before, but at a slight cost to accuracy. Learning how to master the power gauge will be one of the three most important tasks ahead of you as you progress. The second of those is spinning the ball; as soon as you’ve made your swing you can start controlling the amount of top or backspin on the ball. While it can make a difference to the shot in the air, it’s how you control it when the ball begins to land, with some of the most tense moments in the game coming from frantically spinning the ball towards the hole and hoping it’ll fall in. I often found that I was tilting myself in the direction of the hole, but apparently doing that while muttering under your breath doesn’t actually help.

The third important task you have ahead of you is mastering the utilities. As you progress through each course, your golfer will slowly find themselves unlocking more of them, and getting to grips with them can often be the difference between scraping a par or breezing your way to a hole in one. You’ll start off with the ability to slow time, and soon gain access to the blast shot, which allows you to launch the ball in the air again, the self explanatory parachute, reverse gravity and heavy ball, with the Carnival DLC providing the bouncy ball. Better still, once you’ve unlocked each utility, they’re available for all previous holes, too. Each hole lets the player use each utility for up to ten seconds, or five times for the blast shot. Learning when best to use each one adds an extra layer of strategy that realistic golfing games can’t provide and makes the experience that much more fun. The main problem that can occur is that, if anything, the utilities make some holes too easy, and once you know what you’re doing the normally elusive hole-in-one can become a mere triviality.

Once that happens, the main challenge will come from trying to destroy the crates found on every hole. Doing so will allow the player to unlock a variety of different hats, balls and sound-banks to customise their worms with, though it should be mentioned that not every crate collected will yield a new trinket to play with. Nor will it give you immediate access to whatever you’ve unlocked, as you’ll then need to buy the item with the coins you’ll get from completing each hole, and the ones you’ll find scattered across them.

You should be warned, however, especially in the early stages, going for the crates will often mean having to abandon passing the hole, and going for all the coins will probably keep you trapped even longer; thankfully, the game remembers the coins and crates you’ve collected, which saves you a lot of potential frustration in the long term. However, unless you’re aiming to get a hundred percent on every course, you’ll soon find yourself giving up on trying to collect all of the coins, as you’ll always get more from simply completing the holes, and completing each course will give you more than you’ll know what to do with. I found myself giving up on the coins altogether and simply trying to collect the crates instead.

At the start of the game you’ll find yourself only able to access the Britannia course, which does plenty to slowly ease you into the different mechanics, but as you progress you’ll eventually unlock courses themed around pirates and graveyards and, if you have the DLC, a carnival. Each course may look different, but for the most part the changes are purely cosmetic; bunkers will become piles of gold or graves, groundskeepers will wear pirate hats or giant pumpkins, and warp points will change from castles to creepy clown faces. It’s compounded by the fact that some obstacles, like the sheep and the old ladies, will turn up on more than one course. It leaves the feeling that a lot of the holes are ultimately interchangeable, especially when the graveyard course felt much easier than the pirate one, despite being the following course. Admittedly, my favourite is a close tie between the graveyard and the carnival; both feel inventive, are a pleasure to play, and give a great sense of accomplishment when you manage to nab the crate and score a hole-in-one on the same attempt.

As for the unlockables, you’ll find the standard Worms fare of a variety of sound-banks and hats, as well as the traditional golfing gubbins of additional clubs and ball patterns. While it’s reasonably fun collecting a variety of hats to adorn your worms with, the sound-banks felt slightly disappointing in comparison to other games in the series, as there are far fewer phrases and they are repeated quite often; they also cost much more than they should. Where your coins should ideally go is into different clubs, as while the standard clubs are fine for the first course, you’ll soon find that some of the other clubs on offer may suit your style more. Each type of club has several variations to choose from, with some focusing more on power, accuracy or control than others. They may seem expensive at first, but they’ll pay in dividends as you progress, though admittedly I was able to buy all of the second-best clubs in the game after beating the Britannia course, and found those were the best clubs on balance than any others I later bought.

As you progress throughout each course, you’ll also unlock several challenges that you can test your skills with, from eliminating sheep and bats in Time Attack, to trying to chip in as many shots as you can or get the ball as close to the hole as possible, or keeping the ball airborne as long as you can. While they can help the player experiment using the various utilities and hone their skills for the courses, I couldn’t help but feel that a couple of the challenges were inconsistent. Despite several attempts, I couldn’t understand how the target mode was scored, and found that I could rack up more than enough points on the Keep Up challenges by just driving the ball to the sky with a full overdrive shot and switching on reserve gravity.

Here is a good place to pick up on several other flaws in Worms Crazy Golf that tend to become more evident through playing the challenges. Sometimes the cannons will fire the ball with your utility power activated and it can mess up several shots if you’re not prepared for it. At the very least, an option to toggle it would pay dividends, rather than be slightly disruptive.  Sometimes the game’s difficulty seems skewed towards actively punishing you for bad shots, and the physics of the courses will often feel like they’re forcing the ball to end up in a position that disadvantages you. This reached a hilarious level when I was about to par a course when the ball landed in mid air just beside the hole, and forced me to restart the level to pass, though I will point out that the incident was the only time the game glitched out on me. Still, these are just minor complaints and occur very rarely in comparison to the camera. The camera is a constant issue throughout the entire game, and you’ll rarely ever feel like you can see enough to take a shot without having to zoom out as far as you can go. Even worse, the view resets after every shot and having to correct it slowly becomes the default first step before every shot. The fact that there’s no option to fix the position or level of zoom means that eventually the camera slowly becomes the game’s biggest flaw.

Those looking for more some multiplayer delights will find themselves with a local only hot-seat version. You’ll each pick a player, decide how exactly you’ll approach a course, whether it be individual holes, several at a time or the whole course, and then battle it out for supremacy. Both sides have to play through the hole in their entirety before passing it on, and the winner is the player who ends up furthest below par. Unfortunately, there’s very little else I can say about it other than that it’s simply same experience as the single player, but that you can involve your friends too. That is by no means a criticism; the main game is more than enjoyable enough to stand on its own in a multiplayer context, and any potential frustration you’ll find on some of the harder holes will be alleviated by the tension that’ll soon replace it.

If you’re lacking in friends, you’ll find that Worms Crazy Golf has more than enough content to keep you occupied. By the time I’d made my way through all of the courses and challenges, Steam cheerfully reminded me that I’d been playing the game for ten hours and had unlocked all but two of the achievements and all but one of the collectables. That’s not including all the time I invested in the iOS version when my father wasn’t looking. Fundamentally, there’s very little difference between the two versions, other than the opposing keyboard and touch screen control scheme and the available content – the Carnival DLC comes free on the Steam version, but is available at an extra cost for iOS.

Where you side will come down to preference, though I have to admit that if I wasn’t playing it for review, I’d probably have savoured Worms Crazy Golf as a pick up and play title I could enjoy on short journeys, simply so I’d eventually have a reason to put it down. Honestly, I had no idea I’d spent as long as I did playing it on Steam, and there’s still more for me to do should I wish to go back to it; there are still some challenges I’d like to pass, some crates left to collect and some holes ready to be conquered in a single swing. There’s a lot more content than you’d initially think, and it’s all too easy to load the game up for a quick five minutes and come out an hour later. Worms and golf may seem like an odd combination, but it is one that ends up being far more enjoyable than you’d ever think it would be.


  • Easy to pick up and play.
  • Plenty of content and loads to keep coming back to.
  • Great sense of personality and fun.
  • Addictive gameplay that'll suck you in.
  • Customisation is still fun.
  • Beautiful art style.
  • The camera is a constant issue.
  • Difficulty can be inconsistent, both in terms of hole designs and challenges.

While the Worms series may have taken a turn for the unexpected with Worms Crazy Golf, the two fit together spectacularly. The game has a great sense of humour and personality, with a rich, beautiful art style condensed into a game that you can pick up and get the hang of in minutes, but can spend hours playing without issue. There's a load of content, and plenty of incentive to go back and try to beat your previous score on all of the holes and challenges, though it can be said that some of the unlockables are lacklustre or overly expensive. Once you get past the near constant camera issues, what you'll have is a game that, by all accounts, you wouldn't expect to work, but it does, and brilliantly so. If you want a game to while away your next commute, or something you can pick up and play for a few minutes, you can't go wrong with Worms Crazy Golf. Team17 have done an amazing job somehow making golf fun on your computer and on the go.

And I managed to say all that without making a terrible golf pun!

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One Comment

  1. Lorna Lorna says:

    Nicely covered. I think I’ve only touched one golf game in my entire life way back on a retro console/PC. Worms seems a really odd choice at first glance for a sport game, but then so are Sonic and Mario if you actually think about it. Graphically it just looks like any other Worms title, with the same cartoony, rounded look, which is actually pretty appealing (and deceptive, as it doesn’t immediately put you off the way a regular golf title might). Anyway, if there is any sport that needs livening up with a grenade or three and a baseball bat it is golf.

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