There’s this gaming genre some people call “party games” made up mostly of co-op and versus local-only games. There are many of these kinds of games. I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing many of these, which allows me some confidence when I say Gang Beasts might yet be one of the best.
Gang Beasts is like nothing I’ve seen before. While it is a 2-to-8 player brawling game that uses the environment to help players bash each other, its similarities end there. The secret ingredient in this new Double Fine title is that it doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. This can be noticed even on its official description: “a silly local multiplayer party game with doughy ragdoll physics and horrific environmental hazards.”
To achieve this intentional silliness, Boneloaf has placed its bets on several very unique characteristics. First of all, the fighters look and feel like they are made out of plasticine and have amazingly funny costumes. This translates directly into their movements and attacks: punches, kicks, grabbing attacks and pretty much all other movements that are never really defined and sometimes even unpredictable (as if the characters were drunk). This may be a bit frustrating at first, but it’s also what makes every fight unique and pretty much hilarious.
In addition, the game levels are plain awesome. There’s a lot of variety and each of the places in which you get to fight your friends/enemies has specific qualities that enrich the experience. These options range from a common boxing ring or a subway station to a ferris wheel or the tops of trucks on a highway.
The sum of these features delivers a very ridiculous experience (in the best of ways) in which players dish out punches and kicks in a frenzy, trying to knock out their enemies or just push them over ledges or into deadly traps. There’s some skill required, but Gang Beasts is one of those smash-the-controls kind of game in which the important thing is having fun.
Nonetheless, this game is far from being complete. There are several rough edges that need fixing, especially concerning controls, menus and sound effects. Boneloaf has already announced upcoming features that will change most of the game, including single player story mode, co-op mode and several new levels, as well as fully customizable characters that include varying body types and sizes and lots of additional costumes.
An additional highlight is that Gang Beasts is far from limiting itself to being a local-only game. Developers have already announced plans for online gameplay once a final and stable version of the game is released. In opposition to other local-only games, this one does seem to have what it takes to be the center of a social gathering. For more obvious evidence please check the video below in which the guys over at Stumpt have a real blast with the game.
I am very much willing to play this game with my friends no matter how long I have to wait. That’s saying something, right? I can’t think how an 8-player wrestling mayhem on the top of moving trucks can’t be fun.