Earthworm Jim might be my favorite character to come out of the Sega Genesis / Super NES era of video games. The game always stuck with me for it’s unique and colorful art style, silly dialogue, and great character design. Now Jim is back in high definition glory, completely redrawn for the modern age in Earthworm Jim HD by Gameloft. The game remakes the original while adding in a much needed difficulty setting as well as multiplayer. Co-Op you say? Plasma!
The main platforming campaign for Earthworm Jim is all here with many of the familiar enemies like crows, mean dogs, steroid hamsters and bad guys like Psy-Crowe and The Evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt. Yes, that’s her full name. You’ll pick up different powerups along the way for your zapper like PLASMA to help dispatch enemies quicker - or if you prefer - you can whip the bad guys with your own wormy body, thanks to the power of your space suit.
As you work your way through the levels the game breaks up missions every now and again with rocket races in a pseudo 3D space warp thing. Here you can pick up different orbs for bonus points to earn extra lives - which are almost required. The default difficulty out of the box is fairly easy compared to the difficutly of the original game - thankfully if you want an authentic experience you can change it up to that original level of frustration.
Outside of the story mode are four player co-op levels which can be played locally or online. These levels are built from assets of the main game but add in unique co-op elements like door switches and levers that require players to work together to platform there way through the dozen or so levels available. All players are stuck to the same screen, but the dynamic camera zooms in and out to accommodate distance.
At first these levels felt really well designed. While it wasn’t always obvious what we needed to do to proceed, even in matches where nobody was using voice chat, we managed to make our way through and it was quite rewarding. But about halfway through the levels, I noticed that a lot of the co-op elements that were incredibly strong in the earlier levels seemed to be lacking. A buddy and I blasted through the last 5 or 6 levels in under 30 minutes with rarely a moment to stop and ponder a puzzle - mostly because the puzzles didn’t exist anymore.
All in all Earthworm Jim HD is a great remake of a classic game with tons of bonus content for fans. While the co-op could have been a bit more consistent, it’s a fun diversion for you and some friends. I’m sure if the game sells well enough we may see some DLC for the game to extend the life further, but even at $10 Earthworm Jim HD is a pretty solid deal.