It’s been over four years since the last Worms game, and Team17 has delivered their latest take on the 25-year old franchise with Worms Rumble. While it has all the style, weapons, and attitude of a Worms game, it eschews a core mechanic of all main Worms games – battles now occur in real-time! What we’re looking at here, then, is effectively a side-scrolling shooter mixed with Worms. Is this such a good idea, or should Team17 not have taken such a liberty with a winning formula? Time to find out in our Worms Rumble PS5 review.
Worms Rumble PS5 Review – I’ll Get You
Despite what Team17 may have declared, it seems that turn-based mechanics are no longer a given for a Worms game. Yes, Worms Rumble battles are indeed conducted in real-time. The result is a frenetic side-scrolling 2.5D shooter that kind of reminds me of Soldat. The left analog stick is used for movement, the right is used for aiming, cross jumps, square reloads/interacts, circle swings an always-equipped baseball bat, and triangle switches between weapons (only two may be equipped at a time). Meanwhile, L1 uses any traversal-related equipment picked up, which includes such Worms staples as grappling hooks, plungers, jetpacks, and more. R1 throws grenades, L2 causes the worm to roll up Samus style, and of course R2 fires the current weapon. Actions such as rolling, jumping, and wall jumping use up stamina, which is indicated by a circular indicator that shows up near the worm. This takes some getting used to in order to manage properly, but the stamina automatically recharges over time, and it is plentiful. Who knew worms were so athletic?
Quite a few weapons from previous Worms games make appearances here. There’s the usual suspects such as the hand cannon, assault rifle, shotgun, and bazooka. Fan favorites include the sheep launcher, banana bomb, and what would a Worms game be without the holy hand grenade? I can hear the “hallelujah” as I type this! What’s more, on the PS5 each weapon utilizes the adaptive triggers of the DualSense controller in different ways.
One feature that did not make the jump to the world of real-time fights is terrain deformation. I’m sure this was tested before, and the results probably indicated that even with a handful of players, any given maps’ terrain would likely be reduced to nothing within a very short amount of time. Perhaps a map that automatically regenerated its terrain quickly would have helped reduce the headache of ending up fighting on the bottom of a map. Regardless, it feels strange to play a Worms game that doesn’t feature destructible terrain.
Worms Rumble PS5 Review – Just You Wait
What we get instead are maps that feature moving obstacles and other elements of interactivity. Tunnels and buildings can be entered, usually by shooting or blowing up entrances. Once inside, only those who are also inside can see other players, while worms outside of the building can always be seen. Thus, it is advantageous for players to enter these buildings, so that they may get the drop on others going into the building or duct. However, occasionally chucking a grenade into an open vent can result in a stylish kill from the outside, so of course players have to weigh their options carefully. The levels on offer (there are three as of this writing) are the largest ever seen in a Worms game, and they have to be in order to accommodate the 32 players that can join a match. Matches are cross-platform by default, meaning PS4, PS5, and PC players are all lumped into one game. This can be turned off to only include PlayStation Network opponents, though this does mean PS4 players will still be in the mix. Levels load quickly, but much of the load time while playing on the PS5 is in waiting on other slower systems to load up.
In a nod to previous Worms games, players begin each life with basic weapons such as the hand cannon or shotgun, and must traverse the map to find briefcases which can contain any number of weapons, grenades, health kits, or other goodies. Killed players do drop whatever items they had on them, though weapons retain the same ammo count as when they were dropped. This means that sometimes you’ll pick up the incredibly powerful Hammerhead rocket launcher, which is exciting, but it’ll be completely empty, which is decidedly disappointing.
Even an empty clip is somewhat useful in Worms Rumble, however. Players earn experience on everything – not only does the player have an overall level, but each weapon levels up as well. Simply having a weapon out grants XP the longer it is held, though of course dealing damage and kills rack up the most XP. Leveling up a weapon unlocks various skins for purchase, using in-game currency that is also handed out at the end of each match. This is a drip feed of progression commonly seen in many games, and it works to get you to want to play just one more round.
Worms Rumble PS5 Review – Incoming!
There are currently three different match types in Worms Rumble, including Deathmatch, Last Squad Standing, and Last Worm Standing. While there are minimum player level recommendations, players can choose whichever mode they want from the start. Deathmatch is recommended for new players, most likely because you can respawn within just a few seconds, unlike the other two modes which limit players to one life each. Team17 has committed to supporting Worms Rumble over a long time post-launch, and we have already seen some of these plans come to fruition with the launch of The Lab. This features experimental game modes, which may or may not end up on the game, perhaps based on feedback or player interaction; these modes will only show up for a limited time. A new map has also been revealed in the Deadly Docks update, which is being provided free of charge to players of the game.
So far, it seems Team17 plans on including premium cosmetics in Worms Rumble, while including everyone in on the latest map, game mode, or weapon launch. This is, as usual, a great monetization strategy, especially when you consider that Worms Rumble launched as a free game for PlayStation Plus subscribers. There are most likely quite a few players who will toss a few bucks at the developer as a tip for providing such a game free of charge.
Worms Rumble is a fun twist on the tried-and-true Worms format. While it can be purchased standalone for $14.99, considering the online nature of its matches, most players will be better off subscribing to PlayStation Plus and adding it to their library via the free download being offered this month. Regardless, Worms Rumble is worth playing for a few rounds, and then a couple more, and so on until suddenly it’s 2 AM and you really should be asleep as you have work in a few hours but just one more game couldn’t hurt since you’re so close to unlocking that next skin anyway… While destructible terrain may no longer be a feature, the interactivity of the sprawling maps makes up for it. Worms Rumble is easy to play but difficult to master, and worth your time whether you’re a fan of the series or enjoy fast-paced competitive games that test your reflexes and quick thinking.
Worms Rumble review code provided by the publisher. Version 1.003 reviewed on a PS5. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.