Worms Rumble (PC, PS4, PS5)
Released: December 1, 2020
MSRP: $14.99 (free with PS+ in December)
In years of old, I spent countless hours sending my ragtag group of Vermes into battle to conquer random stages. I cannot tell you how many countless hours I spent throwing holy hand grenades and launching sheep at my friends and family. With all of this and the nostalgia that comes along with it, I decided to take a step into Worms Rumble for my first ever Fresh Look Friday.
"Worms Rumble does try other things to keep you coming back, including the requisite leveling system for your profile, as well as each individual weapon you play with, all of which works towards unlocking more cosmetics for your character and profile banner. "
First, a bit about the game. Worms Rumble is a 32-player battle arena on the PS4, PS5, and PC where worms will compete in deathmatch, Last Worm Standing, and "squad-based" Battle Royale matches. I put the squad-based in brackets, because of the hour I spent in the mode, only 1 squad actually stayed together. The game is cross-platform as well in case your friends have already migrated from the PS4 to the PS5. This also means there’s always a healthy amount of competition to play against. In my time with the game, there were never any problems finding other worms to kill.
Jumping into the game, as I mentioned there are three main game modes and yes, they work exactly how you’d think from the descriptions. Up to 32 worms duking it out against each other in some zany maps reminiscent of the Amegedon days, and with some delightfully imaginative weaponry, sure I wish there was more choice when it came to the weapons, but still fun to play with. The Last Worm Standing is this game's battle royale mode, which pretty much has your involvement end once you’re killed. This had to be my least favourite mode, problem was if you didn't get a good weapon out of the gate, you would usually die extremely quickly. Whether or not that’s a good thing ultimately comes down to your personal skill level. If you’re good at the game, quickly being able to mow through other players to nab the gold for yourself is probably an empowering and thrilling prospect. If, like me, you suck at the game, then your involvement in a Last Worm Standing game will be over pretty quickly. This, of course, is true of all battle royale games, but dedicated battle royale games usually have full-fledged rules and maps dedicated to that style of play which help keep things nuanced and interesting even for less-skilled players. Then you have your squad mode, which adds in the ability to res downed worms on your side. A good concept, and if you are playing with you buds, then sure maybe a good mode... but if you play with randoms, you may get one good match out of 10. Usually people scatter at the start and you are left in a regular battle royal moment.
This brings me to my personal highlight for the game, the deathmatch mode. Much like the battle royale modes, this mode works exactly how you'd expect it to – you and the other worms spawn on one of the game’s three maps, and then you fight it out against each other until the timer runs down. This is where Worms Rumble’s mechanics and finely honed design chops truly shine. Since a single unlucky death doesn’t spell defeat, this mode is where you truly get to enjoy the delightful map design and get a chance to really try out the full range of weaponry that Worms Rumble has to offer, given that you actually have the time to experiment, though if you get the multi-rocket or sheep launcher, experimentation goes out the window... Just blow everyone up!
The weapons though lacking in the number of weapons, still do keep things going along. While you have your standard and conventional ones such as a shotgun which is good or an assault rifle which is kind of Over Powered, you also get some entertaining guns to really wreak some havoc, including the Banana Bombs and they even brought back the Holy Hand Grenade... which I killed myself with more than once so be careful. They should really put a warning label on that thing...
"The graphics are undoubtedly rendered in 3D, the actual gameplay takes place entirely on a 2D plane."
The varied weaponry, coupled with the really imaginative and clever map design, helps each game feel dynamic and frantic, helping every match feel different in how it flows and how you progress. This variation across games is necessary since Worms Rumble has a shockingly low amount of content at launch. Three modes and three maps, not really a full game in my mind. Even the best-designed maps will eventually get repetitive, which is a risk Worms Rumble runs, and to be honest by the end of my session I very much felt done with the game. Worms Rumble does try other things to keep you coming back, including the requisite leveling system for your profile, as well as each individual weapon you play with, all of which works towards unlocking more cosmetics for your character and profile banner. I can only hope that this, as well as the other content issues plaguing this game, is alleviated in future updates.
It was said that Worms Rumble would be the first 3D game in the series, and while true, it is mostly true in a technical sense. The graphics are undoubtedly rendered in 3D, the actual gameplay takes place entirely on a 2D plane. On the whole, this ends up being in the game’s favor overall. This is mostly because keeping the action in 2D helps it stay simple. In spite of the simplicity that keeping it 2D provides, Worms’ were easy to manage as a console gamer. I am sure it would be a bit more stable on PC, but it reminded me of playing early GTA games with the point and shoot aspect.
"...if you get the multi-rocket or sheep launcher, experimentation goes out the window... Just blow everyone up!"
After playing a lot of Assassin's Creed Valhalla and having it crash at least once a day, having a game that runs smoothly was amazing. The game looked absolutely superb, like a modern CG cartoon, and it runs without any hiccups. This is exactly what will keep your casual and competitive scene together in my opinion. It doesn't need to be the most complex, just fun and running stable.
I look forward to when Worms Rumble comes out for the Switch, as this would be a great game to play with friends, but for PS+ subscribers I 100% recommend it.