Worms Rumble (PlayStation 5) Review

By Renan Fontes 05.12.2020

Review for Worms Rumble on PlayStation 5

Worms is a franchise that's consistently been defined by its penchant for destruction, nonsensical weaponry, and slow-paced gameplay that juggled style with substance. Team17 has prioritised consistency above all else for over 25 years, but all good things must come to an end. In the shift to next generation, the series has redefined itself with Worms Rumble: a massive recontextualization which trades turn based tactics for non-stop battle royal action. Gameplay is still set in a 2D space and worm customisation is as familiar as ever, but veterans will be immediately thrown off - both by the many gameplay changes and omission of Worms staples.

In terms of pure gameplay, Worms Rumble does justify the shift from slow paced strategy to faster 2D action. Gunplay is responsive, playing off the DualSense's unique properties, while generally being fluid to control. Aiming is done with the right analogue stick, worms shoot with R2, roll with L2, swing their bat with Circle, and jump with Cross. Every action is responsive, immediate, and plays off one another to feed into frantic gameplay.

Worms are understandably more acrobatic as a result. Players can wall jump to scale vertical shafts, hook onto ziplines, and seamlessly switch from gunplay to clubbing their fellow worms. Stages also feature a variety of different set pieces across wide maps that encourage mixing in platforming with combat. Conceptually, all the pieces are set for an entertaining - if a bit unnecessary - redirection for Worms. Unfortunately, Rumble neglects to pack itself with enough content.

Launching with only three game modes, with no means of playing offline or even privately with friends, the gameplay loop resigns itself to repetition. Making matters worse, Deathmatch, Last Squad Standing and Last Worm Standing all make use of the same basic principles - ostensibly three variations on the same game mode. The fact that there are only three arenas recycled through each game mode doesn't exactly help in the variety department, either. Save for cosmetics, players can comfortably see just about everything the battle royal has to offer in just an hour of play time.

Screenshot for Worms Rumble on PlayStation 5

For what it's worth, it is easy to get lost in the gameplay loop. Deathmatch is a frantic game mode that pits worms against each other as they instantly respawn upon death. Last Squad Standing actually encourages strategic play by forcing players to work in a team of three. Finally, Last Worm Standing is just a more extreme version of Deathmatch with respawns disabled. But these are still three game modes played across the three same stages with little of the charm found in the rest of the franchise.

Far worse than the shift in gameplay, Rumble gets rid of destructible environments altogether. This is clearly done to emphasise the battle royal-esque gameplay, pitting players against each other on a familiar map, but this is done at the expense of the series' traditional level design. Players can no longer use their weapons to create underground bunkers, trap their opponents, or outright knock fellow worms off stages. Grenades end up losing quite a bit of their usability as a result, along with weapons being stripped of their secondary environmental features.

Franchises should be allowed to evolve, but Worms Rumble fails to do so naturally. Turning its back on so much of what defined the series up to this point was a mistake that will only serve to alienate fans. Releasing with so little content is in itself a recipe for disaster that will keep the player base from growing due to sheer repetition. Rumble has the bones to be a fine battle royal, but it does little to justify its use of the Worms IP.

Screenshot for Worms Rumble on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

A distinct lack of game modes, no means of playing offline, and even the inability to make a private game with friends overshadows all of Rumble's innovations. Faster paced gameplay centred around a single worm is a breath of fresh air - and implemented quite well - but it's held back by a stripping away of Worms' most identifiable qualities: turn-based gameplay that emphasised strategy, destructible environments that continually redefined stages, and a never-ending stream of charm that kept matches as entertaining as they were engaging. Worms Rumble resembles its predecessors superficially, while failing to carve out a clear identity by recycling what little content there is in-game ad nauseum. Rumble will almost certainly be updated with new modes over time, but franchise veterans are bound to be disappointed and newcomers are better off waiting until then.

Also known as

Worms Rumble

Developer

Team17

Publisher

Team17

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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