Gang Beasts Review

Posted December 29, 2017 by Cameron McFarland in Video Games

Developer: Boneloaf

Publisher: Doublefine Presents

Release dates: December 12, 2017

Available on: PC, Macintosh, PS4 (reviewed)

Did Santa leave a gift card in your stocking this year? If you’re looking for a little fun with some friends, I might have a suggestion for you. Gang Beasts may have started early access testing back in 2014, but now that few thick layers of polish and some very fun and exciting levels are completed, Boneloaf is proud to release it to the world.

If you aren’t familiar with Gang Beasts yet, I’ll try to describe the game as simply as I can. This is a party brawler, not unlike Super Smash Bros, but with a very key difference in how clumsily and imprecise character control is. This may sound like a negative remark, but trust me when I say that is precisely what makes the game special. If you don’t believe me then I will have to encourage you to check out at least the trailer to get a gist of how fun a wobbly ragdoll fighter can be. Each player controls a squishy little guy with the sole goal of knocking rival players off the stage. You can punch, grab, lift, and try to use the physics engine to your advantage.

Most stages have clear ledges, often with moving parts. You may find yourself in a glass elevator that keeps rising and falling in tandem with another. You can try to gain the high ground by climbing out, or just punch the glass and try to push your friend out, and the variety in approach helps this game extend its legs. Combat is very simple from a mechanic standpoint. Buttons allow you to punch left, punch right, grab tight, duck, lift up; all in borderline QWOP sense of fighting the game itself in effort to control your character the way you want. Players can win by punching rivals until they lose consciousness for a short while, lifting up the limp body, and tossing it off stage. It’s very simple, but this is where that “party” part comes into play.

The real fun is trying to get trick kills or just teasing your friends. Some stages have moving parts, such as a factory setting with a conveyor belt that slowly guides objects into a pit of fire. Yes, you could just try and knock out your target and toss him overboard, but wouldn’t it be great if you forced him to ride that whole belt? Treating the game as a toy box more than a competitive experience is where the charm truly lies.

However, Gang Beast‘s biggest strength is its downfall–to a small point. That sort of fun is great in a room full of friends, but there is an online mode that just doesn’t hold the same charm if players aren’t using voice chat or are taking the game too seriously. In local play, players will have experiences like tossing an unconscious player off the side of a skyscraper just as the victim wakes up, gripping his attacker’s hand and taking him down with him. You’ll laugh with your friends when you set up a human chain, all holding on for dear life, and you’ll want more. In online play, I experienced just a little too much lag that would create delays on an already sloppy control scheme. I felt like I wasn’t in control of my beast at all in some matches, falling off the stage just because he didn’t stop running when I stopped pushing the stick to the side. It’s a little frustrating once in a while, but when the winner of a match is an AFK player the joy falls flat very quickly.

There isn’t a whole lot more to say about Gang Beasts, but that’s alright. Boneloaf made the game they set out to do and I think they did a good job, but this is the sort of party game that will be fun in only specific settings. I cannot recommend this to anyone who read there was online support and plans to play alone, but if you have some family or roommates and enjoy experiences like Overcooked, you probably know already that you want to grab Gang Beasts for yourself.

About the Author

Cameron McFarland

Cameron loves cartoons and bad movies almost as much as bad cartoon movies. He is also the world's best spaghetti-eater, so don't bring it up around him or he won't shut up about it. Author and Artist for world-reviled World of Warcraft fancomic,