One thing Team17 didn’t invest much time in with their latest title is advertising. While the Worms series might not generate the same buzz as it might have ten years ago I’d still at the very least heard of many of latter instalments, but Worms Clan Wars seems to have come out of nowhere, and when you realise that there’s been a new Worms title (whether part of the main series or a spin off) every year since it wriggled out way back in ’95, you could be forgiven for writing this off entirely, but rest assured Worms Clan Wars is a fully fledged experience that doesn’t spare on nostalgia and invertebrate squishing fun.
I’ll admit, I haven’t played any of the Worms games since way back when I was a kid wasting hours on Armageddon, so Worms Clan Wars serves as a the ultimate nostalgia trip for me. One thing I remember from way back was the games strongest asset was its multiplayer and online modes, offering very little for players interested in single player outings. This has been rectified with Clan Wars which offers a story mode that sees you leading your team of worms through museum based maps as you try to rescue fabled artefact the Stone Carrot from a nondescript bad guy. While still not the games strongest point, the single player outing gives players the ability to fully experience all the weapons, and for new players it’s a good way to get to grips with how the game works before trying it out with real people online. It also includes some terrific voice acting by IT Crowd actress Katherine Parkinson who narrates the adventure which provides silly but well scripted dialogue to the single player journey.
For those new to the Worms series, the game sees two teams of worms going head to head, complete with a ridiculous list of weapons with which you must disperse your adversaries. The 2D maps are completely destructible too, which gives a tactical edge to the gameplay; if your opponent is in an awkward place where you can’t hit them, just fire a bazooka at the floor underneath and watch them disappear into the murky depths below. The worms now come in different classes, from soldiers to scientists, all with different attributes such as varying speeds and abilities. You can adjust your team line-up to what suits your play style best, and overall it’s a very well-balanced system that helps bring the Worms series into the future.
The weapons are now much better balanced this time around making for a much fairer match. There are still plenty of chaotic choices, from classics like the uzi to the ridiculous like the granny launcher. Personal favourites like the suicidal kamikaze attack and super weapon Armageddon make welcome returns, and while they often yield negative results by causing more harm to your own team than good, part of the charm of playing a worms game is watching your own team members fall into the abyss when you make a stupid mistake.
While multiplayer is still as stronger as ever, it’s the inclusion of the Clan Wars mode that is the biggest and probably the best change in the Worms series. This puts the game into esports territory, seeing you compete online with your very own clan of worms which you create yourself, from name to logo, to be the top of the leaderboard, giving you cause to defend your honour. If this doesn’t sound like your thing you can still play usual local and online PvP, but it’s well worth booting up Clan Wars to at least see what it’s about.
Visually the game is as charming as ever, bright and obnoxious with brilliant animation which is exactly what you expect from a Worms title. The inclusion of the Steam Workshop is also a welcome bonus, giving players the chance to put their ideas and designs forward to further the experience.
While for me it’s no Worms Armageddon, Worms Clan Wars is a strong and solid turn based artillery strategy that puts some fantastic new spins on a classic series. It’s inclusion of a proper single player mode is a step in the right direction, but it’s the multiplayer here that still serves as the games strongest point. If you’ve never played the series then it’s more than capable of showing you just why Worms is so great, but players of old will still find plenty here to bring them back to a series which like me they may not have played for many years.
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