Review: Worms Battlegrounds
Title: Worms Battlegrounds
Platform: PlayStation 4 / Xbox One (PS4 & Xbox One versions reviewed)
Developer: Team 17
Publisher: Team 17
Release date: EU : Out Now, US : June 3
Price: £19.99 / $24.99 (Digital), also available at retail in EU for £34.99
TL;DR: The Worms return with sleeker graphics, more weapons, hilarious soundbanks and a smorgasbord of customisation options.
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Worms is an awesome gift of a franchise that keeps on giving. Since 1995 the armed invertebrates have been destroying each other with all manners of hilarious weaponry. Now, a year before we celebrate its 20th anniversary, the latest entry in the franchise is making its way exclusively to next-generation consoles.
Worms Battlegrounds takes the wanton destruction to a history museum, where Tara Pinkle (voiced by Katherine Parkinson, A.K.A Jen Barber of The IT Crowd fame) is guiding your way through a myriad of story missions and Worms Ops missions to retrieve the ‘Stone Carrot’ that has been captured by a rather nasty little worm – Mesmer. If you’ve played some of the more recent games in the Worms franchise, the 2.5D art style will be relatively familiar to you, which are all themed around exhibits in the museum.
It may be the traditional 2D gameplay made famous by its fore-bearers, but it still remains to be as pretty as ever. Randomly generated landscapes are the returning king of multiplayer level generation, ensuring that no one game is exactly the same. Story mission maps are intricately laid out, often involving a journey to reach crucial equipment whilst committing gratuitous acts of worm-genocide whichever way you move.
The game takes great influence from the developments in more recent iterations of the franchise. The class system from Worms Revolution makes a return, meaning that instead of a team of identical worms, each worm has their own perks and drawbacks. The heavy’s blast radius on death is a lot bigger, but it moves a lot more slowly. Oppositely, the scout can move fast and jump far, but is really small. Tactical use of these will ensure your victory.
Also making a return from Worms Clan Wars is the use of physics to help turn the landscape itself into a weapon. Objects can be exploded on impact and some weapons, like Telekinesis, can move objects around for hilarious results. This is but one weapon out of a roster of 65 that can be exploited for the giggles, resplendent with old favourites like the Old Woman and new tricks like the Teleport Gun.
Comedy is a big component of the Worms experience
And yes, both the Holy Hand Grenade and the Concrete Donkey are back. Rejoice in their brilliance.
Comedy is a big component of the Worms experience, from the incredible weaponry to our lovely narrator and the voices of the worms themselves. Being a big fan of Worms from an early age, one of the first things I did was check out what new voice packs I could assign to my team of worms. Glady, I was not disappointed. Familiar favourites like Angry Scots make a welcome return, but there are some new ones to me, like Memes and the W-Factor (try and guess who the latter parodies).
Speaking of soundbanks, this is a great chance to talk about the cool things Team 17 did with the DualShock 4 in the PS4 version. Your own worms send their words of wisdom via the controller’s internal speaker, whilst the light bar changes colour depending on situation. Blue for under water, red for under attack and green for poison. A neat little touch for a feature that’s waiting to be used until Morpheus comes around. The trackpad can also be used to assign shortcuts for commonly used weapons, making that bazooka or banana bomb only a swipe away.
Multiplayer is the name of the game when it comes to Worms. The traditional local and online multiplayer modes make an expected return, whilst the newest addition comes named after the game itself. Battlegrounds mode takes the online mode one step further, by allowing wormers to create their own clans and compete for glory at the top of the leaderboard. Clan leaders can even create special banners to symbolise the might of their clan, and if you are gaming on an Xbox One, a Smartglass companion app will allow you to keep tabs on your clan’s progress. As with all online multiplayer mode, time will tell if Battlegrounds mode has the mileage to go the distance.
On both local and online multiplayer games, there are two modes that can be enjoyed. Firstly there’s the traditional ‘kill-or-be-killed’ deathmatch mode, where battles are fought over randomly generated landscapes. Forts mode splits the battlefield into two distinct islands, pitting teams of worms against each other from afar with all manners of aerial weaponry or tactical espionage. With both modes, the available weaponry at the start can be tweaked from just a simple choice between bazookas and grenades, or the true carnage that is the ‘Full Wormage’, with every weapon fully available.
For Worms fans old and new, there is plenty to be enjoyed in this game. Whilst it may not seem instantly obvious from a visual perspective that the game needed to be next-gen only to exist, it still makes great use of the console’s horsepower to provide a smooth experience of wormly destruction, especially when it comes to dealing with all the physics involved. Worms Battlegrounds takes the best out of the franchise’s development over the past few years and wraps it all up in a fantastic package that is sure to keep friends and family entertained for many hours to come.
That’s pure amazing, by the way! :)
- Array of new weaponry and physics-based destruction to add some combined spice to the Worms formula.
- Great narration work from Katherine Parkinson and hilarious worm soundbanks.
- Local multiplayer is sure to stir up Mario Kart levels of bitter rivalry
Oi, Nutter! :(
- Would have been great to see a PC Release.
- Chunky price difference for the retail version, making digital the attractive choice in the EU.
Worms Battlegrounds is rated 10 in the US and PEGI 12 in the EU for fantasy violence, mild language and (amusingly put by the ESRB) crude humour. The game regularly makes light of the wanton destruction being laid on enemy worms, although there’s nothing gory about it. Definitely an awesome game for all the family to enjoy, although be prepared for any arguments that may ensue over someone’s particular method of ensuring the demise of other worms. All great fun though!
Worms Battlegrounds was reviewed via code provided by Team 17 and Xbox UK