Prepare to get Worms
When the original Worms came out in 1995 I was 13 years old. My best friend and I spent hours in front of his old 486 dx4 100 PC waging war against our own individually named teams of high pitched dirt eaters. 19 years later, after several sequels and one or two attempts at bringing the series into the dreaded third dimension the original Worms game still holds a special place in my heart.
The latest game from Team17 entitled Worms Battlegrounds contains everything that made the very first game (and most of the sequels) great. Randomly generated destructible levels, ridiculous weapons, silly voices and great humour throughout. As you would expect Worms Battlegrounds brings a few new features to the table but it should be known that this is actually an updated version of Worms Clan Wars which has been out on PC since mid-last year.
The basic concept of Worms is simple. You control a team of 4 worms. With up to a total of four teams on the battleground your job in this turn based artillery game is to destroy your opponents using any means necessary. Will a bomb loaded with explosive bananas do the job? Or perhaps a bouncing sheep packed with dynamite? These are just two of the weapons at your disposal and ridiculous as they may seem each of them has their own purpose on the battleground. Utilising the right weapon for the job is the key to your success.
Incorporating some basic puzzle solving elements the short single player campaign does a great job of teaching you how to use the numerous weapons and gadgets at your disposal. But the story that plays out as you progress felt unnecessary and while the voiceover work provided by Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd) was performed well, the writing itself was somewhat annoying to me and I struggled to get through it. Lovers of British humour will feel right at home here though.
But what true invertebrate warfare has really been about for the past 19 years is the multiplayer and like so many in the series before it, Worms Battlegrounds is heaps of fun to play with (or against) real people. While there is the option to play against AI teams for those who don’t have any friends, you can also play either offline locally with up to 4 players on the one console or online against opposing clans. Playing against the AI was just as much fun as I remember back in the 90’s with the computer controlled players being challenging to beat but not so smart that you feel cheated.
Sadly, regardless of the time of day it was a constant struggle to find an online game and when I was finally able to connect with someone the delay between player turns was just too long. Waiting in excess of 30 seconds while the game loaded data for every single turn was excruciatingly annoying and four player battles took much longer than they needed to which was disappointing. This could be partially due to connection speed as I was only able to find games with players in the USA but when compared to other much more intricate multiplayer games in a similar situation the lag was just too much to tolerate.
For me the best way to play worms is locally. Get a few mates together, grab some drinks and pass the controller around for a bit while having some laughs. This is how Worms was originally designed to be played and in my view this is where the game truly shines. For a game of this nature the price tag is a little steep but the epic failures and the freak shots that can only be managed with pure luck will have people cheering (and screaming) at the TV.
Spending time in Team17’s latest game brought back so many fond memories of gaming with my friends as a kid and in a world where established IP’s are being ruined left right and centre it’s so good to see a developer that manages to maintain the integrity of their most well-known title while bringing enough new stuff to the table to keep it interesting.
Worms Battlegrounds isn’t a blockbuster. It isn’t a triple A title. It’s just silly fun and fans of the series should definitely give it a go.
Developer: Team 17
Publisher: Team 17
Platforms: PS4 & Xbox One
A review copy for the game was provided by the publisher.