Killer Klowns From Outer Space: Game Review


It’s only a matter of time before IllFonic perfects the asymmetric multiplayer experience. Say what you will about its previous games; each one offered fun tweaks to the formula, diminutive but clever innovations, and a seemingly better understanding of what makes the genre so engaging. Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game embodies all of these aspects, making it one of IllFonic’s best asymmetric games.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game features a familiar gameplay loop for the genre. Seven players must quickly find a way to escape from their surroundings, find required tools—like a can of gas and a spark plug for a motorboat—and complete a series of skill tests before finally leaving the map, all while being hunted by three Klown players. People are chased left and right, and evil giggles fill the air. Large popcorn-spitting guns prove to be as deadly as they are stupid. Conspiracy nutcases relay critical information via amateur radios. Matches start off calmly enough before devolving into a hilariously cluttered mess.

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These typical gameplay mechanics are enough on their own. It’s exactly what fans would expect from a game like this. What sets Killer Klowns From Outer Space apart is how well it balances its competing roles, which is initially expressed through their inherent differences. Humans can scour the area for weapons, helpful tools (like a compass that shows where exits are on the map), and health/stamina-based items to gain an advantage over their colorful pursuers. Their smaller size allows them to be quicker on their feet, sneak through windows, and hide with relative ease after losing sight of the Clown. And while it’s possible to take on the Clown alone with the right weapon, being part of a larger group allows for more team-oriented tactics during the brawl.

On the other hand, Clowns are always a direct threat. Not only are they usually more sturdy than their human counterparts and have access to powerful abilities, but they also have time on their side; if human players don’t escape within 15 minutes, they’ll be sucked into an explosion called the Klownpocalypse. Clown players can speed up this process by collecting humans—i.e. blasting them with a ray gun until they’re encased in a cotton candy cocoon, then connecting them to Lacky Generators scattered around the map—instead of killing them, ending the match early.

This role balancing extends to their different objectives as well. The Clowns can cover exit paths with cotton candy, which must be removed in order to interact with them. Humans must time most things, as failing a skill check or otherwise making noise will alert the Klowns to their whereabouts. That said, all is not lost if you get caught out in the open, as death is not always constant; Humans can visit the resurrection machine, acting as a sub-objective, to bring back their teammates once per match.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space has a ton of different but interconnected game mechanics that work together to keep the games as fair as possible. I’m sure that will change as more players discover recent strategies over time. However, right now, no one role dominates the other in a full lobby, resulting in one of the most fun asymmetric games I’ve ever played. It’s a blast hunting down unsuspecting humans and beating them into submission with a giant hammer. Using my particular Klown’s special abilities to close the gap on fleeing prey is also something special; ramming people with an undetectable car or stalking them with a live balloon dog never gets elderly.

Likewise, finding recent ways to avoid annoying Clowns as a fleet-footed teenager always got my heart racing. Successfully completing the final skill check as the last player alive, hearing the sound of gigantic, squishy boots a few feet away, is exhilarating. The same can be said for facing a Clown with a single bullet in my hand, knowing that if I missed their rubber nose (their main feeble point), I’d get a face full of deadly popcorn. And since my death was most likely caused by some weird ability or weapon, I always laughed at what happened instead of being frustrated.

The main gameplay isn’t the only appealing aspect of Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Visually, it’s a treat for fans of the films, as a dynamic 80s aesthetic permeates everything across the five well-designed maps. The humans look pretty decent, especially once you unlock more cosmetic options. However, all five of the creepy-looking Klowns are impressive. They look like they’ve been lifted straight from the film the game is based on. I’m particularly fond of their Klowntatities. These special finishing moves are cinematic, transitioning into gamified versions of iconic moments from the film, allowing you and your opponent to reenact them in the middle of a match.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space can be incredibly fun at times. Unfortunately, it has a few glaring issues that prevent it from reaching its true potential. There are a ton of bugs to contend with; stuck objectives, occasional crashes, and other things that plague what would otherwise be a fun experience.

IllFonic has announced plans to address many of the biggest issues I’ve encountered while playing the game. Even in its current state, aside from one bug that caused me to lose progress on cosmetic unlocks, the bugs I encountered weren’t glaring. Still, it’s worth noting that Killer Klowns from Outer Space still plans to improve these areas.

As it stands, Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game is a solid asymmetric multiplayer game. The gameplay mechanics that aid balance the competitive roles reinforce the lessons IllFonic has learned over the years, while the comical movie references and impressive visuals show the respect it pays to the source material. If IllFonic can iron out the bugs in an upcoming patch and provide solid content post-launch, Killer Klowns From Outer Space could be the best game in its genre.

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