Team 17 returns with yet another iteration of the cult classic Worms series. Leaving behind the turn-based stratagems and incorporating a real time action multiplayer mechanic, Worms Rumble attempts to rebrand again to adapt to the games being played today. Jump into matchmaking alone, or with friends in this online-only title, where you will find the usual Deathmatch game types. Though pieces of the original charm aren’t as present, Worms Rumble is most likely the best deviation from the classic gameplay to date.
Lock n’ Load
The developers have toyed around with their franchise formula in the past (Worms 3D), so this is not their first experiment. You don’t command a squad of worms, and instead play as a single team member, or solo in a free-for-all fight. Traverse a 2D map and collect weapons and other powerups to annihilate your opponents. That’s pretty much the gist of it. It’s essentially a 2D MMO similar to Duck Game. If you’ve played that, then you will know exactly how this title operates. And what’s here is done well enough. It controls like you would expect, maybe even a little better. The roll and wall jump mechanics are a nice touch to get around quickly and smoothly. Use a mouse and keyboard or controller; both work fine.
Finding and joining games online isn’t a slog, and there are a lot of players on the servers. However, there is no ranking or segregation to the matchmaking. As a new player, I got rocked by veterans over and over. Playing in Team Deathmatch was the best bet for me; I needed to be carried to victory. I would have liked to at least see a Casual and Ranked matchmaking option. Or even an offline with bots mode would have been nice. These would have helped curve a difficulty spike when playing with veterans. Replaying the training course doesn’t really provide you with enough to get better on your own. And since there is no offline mode, Worms Rumble cannot be played on the couch with friends. You can, however, party up online.
Choose from a decent selection of headgear, sunglasses, and skin tones to create a unique worm to join the rumble. This is all purely aesthetic, but in game attire seems to be the craze these days. I kept my worm classic for the most part to have a bit of nostalgia while playing. The characters on screen are relatively small, so playing dress up isn’t as rewarding as titles like Fortnite or Diablo, except from the spectator mode. There, you can see an enlarged view of each player in game.
With any game that emphasizes customization comes an in-game currency. Collect gold and experience from games played to, you guessed it, unlock more hats, weapon colors, and profile backgrounds. And this wouldn’t be the usual micro-transactional experience without different packages you can purchase separately. Maybe my boomer gamer mentality is showing a little, but I’ve already bought the game. Is that not enough these days?
A Familiar Realm
Hearing that recognizable melody from previous installments worked into new compositions brought a me a smile. I was filled with memories of nights staying up late with my friends and family playing Worms World Party on the original PlayStation. Aside from the classic motifs in the compositions, the music was great. I left the game on the main menu and jammed out to the track while sifting through screenshots captured to upload on this page. A lot of the personality is still here, even though I’m a purist and can’t help but want to revert back to the older titles after playing this one.
Also, some of my favorite weapons of the franchise make their return, including the Baseball Bat, Banana Bomb, and of course, the almighty Holy Hand Grenade. Hearing that “Haaaallelujiah!!” before detonation triggers some of my fondest, and most infuriating flashbacks. Staying on the subject of sound, the worms voices do feel a bit annoying and maybe a little too squeaky this time. I had to drop the voice volume down a bit.
I wouldn’t dive into Worms Rumble looking for the original nuts and bolts if you’re an older player. I can easily picture that scenario since there are already a plethora of Worms titles and remasters on Steam. But if you seek a 2D Run N’ Gun multiplayer experience, you’ll have some fun. This game will stay relevant as long as there are enough players online to carry the torch. Without them, I can easily see it fall into obscurity.