Man, I can’t remember the last time I played a Worms game. Me and my brothers used to play the original on the Amiga, way back in 1995 a lot. I played some of the later PlayStation 3/360 era games, but I honestly don’t think I’ve touched a Worms game since 2012’s Worms Revolution. Between you and me, I didn’t even know they were still being made. Anyway, they are and from developer Team 17 comes the latest in the long-running franchise, Worms Rumble.
For those not in the know, a quick recap on just what Worms is. They are games where you control worms who like to kill other worms with a variety of weapons… I did say it would be a quick recap. Really, that is all there is to these games. The thing about the whole Worms series is how it had such a simple formula that just worked. You took it in turns to use the many weapons the game offered to try to be the last worm (or team of worms) standing. The turn-based simplicity of the games added a basic layer of strategy and immense amounts of fun too. Silly humour, OTT weapons and basic but truly engrossing gameplay. Then Worms Rumble came along…
Okay, I’m not going to waste any time here, I don’t like this game at all. Aside from the plethora of customisation and the bright, cartoony graphics, there really is very little to enjoy here. What Team 17 have done is seen how stupidly popular the battle royale sub-genre has become and decided to have a slice of the action. No more turn-based combat, no more tactics, no more thinking and strategising. Worms Rumble is full-on real-time, multiplayer-only, run (or crawl) around like a loon and shoot at other worms with zero thought. Also gone is the famed destructible scenery of the franchise. It’s just not Worms, this is a lazy ‘oh battle royale is making money’ cash-in. Granted, controlling the worms in the game is far more fluid than ever before. The little invertebrates can nip around the maps with ease, roll on the floor, jump, use zipline and even jetpacks… But it’s just not Worms.
In terms of the levels themselves, they are way too ‘busy’ to really get a grasp on what is going on. This is exactly why Worms needs to be turn-based. You have very small graphics, a lot of bullets and grenades flying around, causing explosions… And you just can’t keep up with all the action. This real-time gameplay thing just does not work. Then, outside of the immense customisation (which is great), there is just far too little content here. There are only a very small handful of maps, I didn’t count how many exactly but I did see the same maps over and over (sometimes the same map repeated after another) during matches. There are only four game modes too, and even those are just two variations on two slightly different modes. There’s deathmatch, team deathmatch, then there’s last man standing and (wait for it) team last man standing… That’s it. Very little content here and what little there is gets repeated a lot. Plus, when I was playing this for review, it took AGES to get into a game too. I don’t know if that is an issue with the matchmaking, or if there are just not enough people playing Worms Rumble right now. All I do know is that it takes way too long to find a game.
For me, this just did not work at all, not as a Worms game and not as a decent battle royale game either. Admittedly, I have not played a Worms game in a good few years, but when I did, they were infinitely more fun than this. Worms is a very specific title and it features very specific and much loved gameplay mechanics, changing things up to the point where it no longer feels like Worms is a very bad idea. Everything that made those earlier Worms title so playable, so much fun is gone, replaced by a lazy bandwagon jump to the battle royale genre, it’s just not Worms.