I’ve been playing these style of games for as long as I can remember. My kids and I played together all the time while they were growing up. We played at least 4 of the franchise Worms games that I can think of, including the 3D ones. I think once they turned to 3D though, some of the original concept got lost and muddied.
The genre as a whole though is pretty well done already. My son and I occasionally still play Pocket Tanks on our iPads, which is great as either pass & play or local multiplayer each with our own iPads. He also plays (and I have it too but don’t have the time to play) what is probably the ultimate tank battle game currently, ShellShock Live, a full on multiplayer game with hundreds of weapons and arena styles.
The differentiator for worms has always been the cuteness, so I think that’s a core concept you have to capture. I see you said you’re happy with just a tribute to the original, which would be the easiest to do, but I think adding something new might get you more traction. New weapon varieties is probably the easiest way to add flavour but stick with the original concept.
Even if it was something simple such as maybe an AI combatant who is more annoying than anything, but changes up the strategy, forcing you to say move location regularly, or some such, or turn it into a co-op mode my requiring all players to focus on defeating a common enemy. Of course that means multiplayer which is harder.
Seems you have your core team to get you going. I’ll be interested to see which path you take.