Worms Battlegrounds Review

battlegrounds.jpgWorms Battlegrounds is not a game I’d normally buy. Which is why I never actually bought it, I got it as a free download off Xbox live and it has rekindled my enthusiasm for the series. Team 17 haven’t made many discernible changes to the originals I used to play as a kid, but that is a damned good thing! Although I scramble to skip the game opening sequence because its super annoying, the game mechanics and the voice overs of all the worms make me laugh after countless games. I cannot review every part of the game such as online or the alien invasion DLC, but I’ll do my best to describe my experience with the game. For those who have never come across worms, it is a turn based game where you control a team of 4 worms and aim to take out the other teams using a huge and unlikely armory of weapons. This one is a great coop game, and you only need 1 controller to play 2-4 player matches!

Campaign and Worm Ops

These sections of the game are what make it different from the originals. I delved into it a little, but the fact that it’s single player means I didn’t bother too much. The fact that you can compete with friends on worm ops to get the best time is pretty cool, but I don’t know anyone else who owns the game. The worm ops missions basically teach you how to use certain items without competing against an enemy team. The campaign, with possibly the most annoying narrator in gaming history, is a little deeper, with puzzles which can be a little tricky. The worms successes video shows a clip I recorded after tearing my hair out for a good half hour trying to complete, I had no idea you had to use the baseball bat ON the mine! Compared to other campaigns in turn based games, it is a little lacking. I’d actually go as far as to says its an unnecessary addition. It is slow moving and lacks the excitement and tactics you get in the multiplayer modes.

Versus Mode

If you want a truly representative idea of what the game is like then look no further than Versus mode. Grab a family member or a friend, stick a couple of A.I teams in the mix and jump straight in. I’d start getting the hang of the main weapons like bazookas and grenades first, just to get the hang of the game and develop a level of skill, but to be honest the most fun involves using the ott weapons like the banana bomb and the concrete donkey. Yes, thats right I said banana bomb, but I’ll get back to that! Setting up the game is actually quite important. You can choose the weapon set, the amount of environmental hazards and mines on the battlefield and the shape of the battlefield itself. Me and Dad tend to choose maps which have no roof (to enable the use of airstrike like weapons), but you can choose more close in maps if you are prefer. There are a number of different aesthetic settings according to the different AI factions: The Nordic Nasties, the Ugg Thugs, the Kirachi Killers, and the Stephensons rockets. The Feudal Japan backgrounds are very confusing because of the clashing colours, which can actually cause more hilarity than frustration. However we tend to pick the clearer maps. I’m preeeeetty sure they are procedurally generated, which means you can’t memorise the maps! But there are certain defensive measures you can take to prolong your existence in the game.
The Factions are hilarious, especially the Kirachi Killers who shout out Chinese proverbs from nowhere, they are just so ridiculous and hilarious. As well as the AI factions there are a number of different teams you can be. They don’t have names as such, but they range from spoiled private school girls to pathetic servants (think Gollum/Grimma Wormtongue). Occasionally they come up with a new line which I haven’t heard which makes me laugh out loud. The actual AI are dreadful, I don’t know if there is a way to change the difficulty level, but they do such stupid things like parachuting to their death and walking into mines. I suppose I should be complaining about their inability, but its just so funny. One problem is they take a LOT of time to choose what to do. We ended up putting the turn time limit to 30 seconds, which upped the challenge, but also gave rise to some great last second panic shots. Unfortunately I haven’t recorded too many fails, but the amount of times we’ve miss judged the amount of fuel left in a jetpack and plummeted to our deaths or jumped into a hidden mine, cannot be counted, honestly.

The weapons you can use are completely up to you. You are given the option of the game mode and there are plenty of weapon sets to choose from. Some are a bit boring and most matches end in sudden death (where the water level begins to rise every turn after the time limit is reached), some are ridiculously over the top, and some are tactical. My favourite weapon is the banana bomb: a banana you throw which blows up into more explosive bananas causing massive devastation, especially when forced into a small space. My Dads favourite weapon has to be the water bomb strike, which doesn’t do any direct damage but reduces the friction of land surfaces, sending multiple worms into the ocean causing instant death. There are also the super super weapons like the concrete donkey and ‘Armageddon’ (meteor strike) which can utterly demolish the entire map. The game is balanced by keeping these weapons from being used in the early game. For example the holy hand grenade is only available to use after everyones second worm has taken his/her turn. It gives everyone a chance to either get out the way, or develop the map into a more desirable shape. Dad often wastes turns making holes in the topography to try flush worms into the ocean, however he often hides worms in little nooks. I have more of a callus approach, trying to cause as much damage to the other worms as possible, without much regard for myself. However you like to play though, it is ALWAYS fun. And even if the gameplay isn’t flowing so well, the worms are often one one-liner away from making you crack up.

Worms Battlegrounds is a game I play literally every work day during my lunch break. 10 minute games are all unique thanks to a huge variety of battlefields, weapons, and worm one-liners. The campaign for me and the worm ops are there to teach you the more intricate weapons and tools, but other than that they aren’t worth spending your time on. Its certainly a game to crack out when you have a party or a lads night, but also one to show your family because it has a wide appeal to many audiences.

I’d rate this game 7.8/10, because the campaign is garbage, but the versus mode is genius.
Thanks for reading!

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