Worms Battlegrounds from developer Team 17 is the latest in a long line up of games in the series and in this latest iteration opts to maintain its 2D roots but with a touch of 2.5 thrown in as well. From the main menu, you’re presented with local and online play with the local option allowing you to team up with others around the couch and embark on the game’s crazy story mode. Before jumping in to any of the modes, there’s a handy option to customize your worm team and their looks from a wide range of classic garments and head pieces. I kitted my team with tartan hats, aviator sunglasses and Rastafarian voices which made for some hilarious consequences.
Moving into the main game and there’s the story mode which throws you into a variety of skirmishes complete with objectives which often require a bit of lateral thinking. The journey takes you across various time periods such as prehistoric, Viking, Inca, Feudal Japan and finishing up at the Industrial Revolution.
It has to be said, the gameplay retains its classic feel which will sit well with series veterans, but I found the pacing to be painfully slow making the skirmishes feel overly drawn out. I understand the game features dynamic landscapes, but this means the AI takes a long time to respond when its turn comes. For a game that offers a timer to hurry things up, it acts as a hindrance to the entire experience considering the game’s action appearance.
When the game does flow well, then it’s great, as always, to take turns in attacking the other team using all sorts of interactive stage elements and lots of standard and bizarre weapons. However, I came across several glitches which made things get stuck or not work properly and required manually restarting the last checkpoint. It’s no biggie, but did feel a bit unfair at the time when progress was hampered by things out of my control. Aside from the minor errors, it’s neat being able to zoom in close to the action despite the camera being a bit floaty for my tastes.
The game’s visuals are fairly basic, lacking in many details but opting for a cartoon look which suits the style perfectly. The battle grounds are vividly colourful and the worms have some cute animations but there’s nothing here that stands out beyond functional.
I found the audio to be quite basic in terms of the music, but where it shines is the impressive voice acting, not only from the Lara Croft sounding narrator but the quirky voices of the worms, which as mentioned already can be customized across a wide range of styles.
Worms Battlegrounds is going to take a fair number of hours to complete, with its 25 levels of the story mode which get progressively more complex as you work through them. Then there’s the option for standard versus against local players, or taking the fight online where you can form groups and take on the world in the Battlegrounds arena. There are also some additional quick scenarios in the Worm Ops section which add more taxing gameplay moments and the option to create your own battlegrounds using a fairly detailed level editor.
As a package for Worms fans then Battlegrounds is worth checking out regardless of platform. For anyone else, there’s a slow paced turn based quirky game on offer here which is fun for a moments play, but does drag its feet a little in the longer term. If you like tactical games then this is worth a look as it’s fun, challenging and although has some glitches, easy to pick up and play. However I don’t think it’s worth the retail asking price and would suggest waiting before it hits sub £20 before making a purchase.
Score 6.5/10 – Review by Jamie Simmons
Review code supplied by Xbox.