The Worms games have been around for nearly twenty years now, and with good reason. They remain one of the few consistent go-to party games on the PC thanks to the series’ charming art style and accessible design. The formula has been tweaked again and again over the years, with Worms: Clan Wars aiming to revamp the online component of the series.
For the uninitiated, Worms casts you as a team of cute but generally violent cartoon worms bent on destroying one another with the most outrageous weapons your twelve-year old mind could come up with. The battles happen in a turn-based fashion, allowing you to position your worms in the heavily destructible environment, take aim, and annihilate one or more enemy worms before politely giving them their turn to return the favor. It takes a bit of patience and skill but rewards you and your friends with a lot of fun.
This particular iteration of the series does try new things with its online component as its main selling point; however, it doesn’t quite make the cut. Clan Wars invites you to create or join a clan, customizing things like logos or hats for your new team, before taking it online to fight your way to the top of the leader boards.
E-sports are hot right now, but it seems odd to see Worms now trying to get into the massive competitive scene so late. Worst yet, I couldn’t even make it into a full match online. Maybe it was the time of the evening where most Worms players are off having real lives, but it did feel somewhat depressing that the major sell point was inaccessible due to lack of player base.
The single player portion of the game is actually quite enjoyable. In the past, a campaign in Worms would mostly be a series of random death matches whereas in Worms: Clan Wars you get a pretty entertaining story voiced by Katherine Parkinson from The IT Crowd. As Tara Pinkle, a Lara Croft parody that seems blindly sadistic in her quests for ancient relics, she tasks you with retrieving the mystical Stone Carrot artifact before the evil Crowley-Mesmer can use it to mind control all of Wormdom.
Its an entertaining little story that’ll make you chuckle as you play through it as well as a refreshing break of pace from what usually comes packed in for single-player in a Worms title. It gets a little dull though, and playing alone drastically amps up the frustration of making a mistake that causes you to have to start the level over.
Returning from the previous Worms: Revolution game is the class system. This time around, the classes have been tweaked to be a bit more diverse from one another. This is a very welcome addition to the gameplay as it allows you to customize your play experience even further as well as makes this new Worms game the best go-to version in the series.
The graphics in this version can take a bit to get used to. The environments and animations, while right where you would want them to be, can be a bit frustrating. It can be difficult to ascertain what is destructible as well as what is actually the foreground or background. Even though I was pulling around eighty frames per second, I actually had to boot up a program to check because something about the way the game looks was actually making me think it was running at a much harder to look at twenty frames per second.
This is a Worms game at the end of the day. Even with its small flaws, the game is still a blast to play with a group of friends. Sure, the online component is not up to snuff now, but Team17 has pretty vast plans for the system including a companion website and phone app that could certainly make it worth looking back on down the line.
Worms: Clan Wars was developed for Windows and published by Team17, and is currently available for $24.99. A digital download code for the game was provided to Save/Continue for review purposes.