REVIEW : Worms Rumble (PC)
In 1990, a young employee of a computer store, Andy Davidson, took advantage of his free time to program a tank battle game. To stand out from the competition, and after discovering the Lemmings’ animations, the boy transforms his project and imagines a fight between worms. The concept will eventually evolve to become Total Wormage before the founder of the Team 17 studio, Martyn Brown, is seduced by the idea and decides to make it one of the canonical works of his catalogue: Worms. This Rumble episode is therefore timely to celebrate the twenty-five years of the license and bring it in a surprising direction, far from its turn-by-turn origins.
In its early days, Worms was a cross between Lemmings and Cannon Fodder, mixing action and thinking, in a 2D environment. Very quickly, the title stood out thanks to its pixel art characters, its omnipresent humour and its twisting animations. For years, the Team 17 team kept this feeling until they brought together the best of the license in a cult episode: Worms Armageddon (including Worms WMDis the assumed heir). However, and despite the fan’s appeal for the original recipe, the English studio has always tried to evolve the concept. 3D environment and gameplay, Tower Defense mechanics, integration of armed vehicles… we cannot take away their desire for innovation. With Worms Rumble, Ossett’s protégés take advantage of the craze for the battle royale to transpose their favourite saga into games that smell like powder and fast movements. The bet is risky but is it convincing?
If the transition to real-time requires a little time to adapt, we quickly find the sensations of the original. Whether in travel or the proposed arsenal, Worms Rumble does justice to its predecessors and does not betray expectations. The “lunar” jumps of our leaping friends are always present and the essential objects of the license will serve you to undermine the resistance of your opponents. Explosive sheep, Holy pomegranate, Bazooka, Ninja rope, Jet-pack… they are basically all there! On this point, the developers have remained faithful to the historical clichés of the series and that’s good. However, for the rest, it has nothing to do – or almost – with what the players have experienced. The movements are super fast (the characters can curl up like Sonic) and the power of certain weapons (the assault rifle for example) means that the strategy has deteriorated considerably – even if it has not disappeared for as much. The other major development comes from environments which are quite gigantic and open the door to ambushes. Skill worms can take the elevator, grab onto a zip line, or use the surrounding piping to hide and protect themselves (other players can’t see you when you use the pipelines). So there is really something to have fun, the spirit of the Worms is there and it is even possible to establish a semblance of tactics. But keep in mind that the experience is different from a standard episode where reflection is required.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
While waiting to take advantage of additional options, Worms Rumble is content for the moment with three main modes. There is a classic deathmatch with reappearance, squad clashes and, of course, pure battle royale, where there must be only one left. We know the formula well now. But where this episode may anger fans is in the total absence of local fashion. The battles, which can accommodate up to 32 players simultaneously, take place exclusively online. It is therefore impossible to welcome friends at home to have fun on the same screen. When we know where the saga comes from, this lack of local multiplayer is incomprehensible. It’s a shame because Worms Rumble is such a fun and vibrant game. Although there are not many cards, they offer very distinct areas like a mall, metro, stadium, warehouse, etc. We go from one to the other without ever getting bored (thanks, in particular, to small events which give access to new areas), taking advantage of a varied arsenal (which lacks a little balance for the moment) and rediscovering the humorous style of the license.