It turns out, a new generation of consoles doesn’t mean a new take on the Worms formula, but more of the same isn’t a bad thing either. Worms Battlegrounds’ familiar setup proves to be fun and charming; successfully keeping the humour, challenge and satisfaction of its 19 year old ancestor. It’s certainly not without its minor faults, and only current fan are really going to enjoy this latest offering, but as far as multiplayer grenade flinging and terrain destroying chaos goes, it’s still a jolly good time.
Indeed Worms Battlegrounds is still about taking a team of weapon wielding worms and unleashing them against teams of fellow, fierce fish-bait. A randomised, destructible map is your battlefield and thanks to a significant arsenal of weapons and utilities, your team can launch rockets from bazookas, throw grenades, blow torch your way through the scenery, or even get a little crazy with the more bonkers sets of weapons like the exploding super sheep or banana bomb. Knocking each worm’s health on your enemy’s team down to zero, and watching them explode and transform into a tombstone, is your goal. These is best achieved by slithering and jumping your own team around the map to help keep them safe, collect additional weapons from falling crates, and gain strategically advantageous spots to fire from. It’s mildly tactical and always entertaining.
Worms Battlegrounds adds a handful of new weapons to the mix, like the Bovine Blitz, but mostly sticks with old favourites, with nothing offering any drastically different strategic options over previous titles. And once again a narrative-based singleplayer campaign is present, wonderfully narrated by The IT Crowd’s Katherine Parkinson who plays an artefact stealing thief called Tara Pinkle. Through 25 levels you’re taken on a journey through a museum’s displays to stop the villain, Mesmer, from obtaining a powerful object called the Stone Carrot. It’s well written whimsy but nothing particularly gripping story-wise. It’s really just a primer for the multiplayer, showing you the strengths and weaknesses of the team of worms you can build from soldier, scout, scientist and heavy, as well as giving you practise with the many weapons.
The battlefields look terrific, representing a wide range of historical settings. Pools of water are often present and can be released as a torrent on unsuspecting worms with the right shot destroying the right area of terrain. However, it’s very easy to confuse the foreground with the background, leading to some embarrassing jumps, falls and deaths. Against the AI, however, your embarrassments are quickly forgotten as they too make idiotic decisions, although these are often followed up with a pin-point precision attack. There’s a lack of middle ground for the AI; a turn is typically hilariously dumb or frustratingly accurate with little in-between. At least you can take on human players locally or online.
The multiplayer is where Worms Battlegrounds excels. The winning Worms formula is intact despite the minor changes over the years with worm classes, new weapons and flowing water, it’s still an insanely fun exchange of comical weapons. Deathmatch or Forts are the modes on offer, with Forts playing out practically the same as Deathmatch albeit with a protective fort for each team. Additionally you can create a Worms Clan, where you can customise your team with different voices, tomb stone designs, names, etc. and then battle other clans online to climb the leaderboards. It’s a compelling competition. You can even create your own battlefields, although the tool set limits your creativity a little bit; don’t expect the boundless options of Little Big Planet or Project Spark.
It’s not the title to show off your next generation hardware, in fact loading times are surprisingly lengthy, and neither is this an evolution of what came before, but Worms Battlegrounds is just as fun and charming as the best in the series’ long history. It’s a bit pricey for more of the same, but it’s also the most comprehensive Worms experience so far, so if you’ve been giving the series a miss for a few years this version comes recommended.
MLG Rating: 7/10 Format: PlayStation 4 / Xbox One Release Date: 30/05/2014
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Worms Battlegrounds for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PlayStation 4. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy,click here.