‘Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game’ Review: A Disappointing and Bug-Filled Experience

Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a cult classic horror movie from the late 80s that creates the perfect blend of dark comedy, coulrophobia, and the sleaze of rompy 80s movies. Not to mention it boasts that killer opening theme from The Dickies. So when Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game was announced in August 2022, I was cautiously optimistic. Fast forward a few years and the day is finally among us. But after a rough preview of Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game at PAX East, has much changed to sway players? The short answer is no.

Concerns For The Longevity

Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game might actually be the one game I’ve played in 2024 that actively made it hard to review. This is mainly in part due to the nature of the 7v3 gameplay. While there were times that I was able to get a complete party, when I tried to do this without friends or colleagues, nine times out of ten, I would matchmake for upwards of fifteen minutes before giving up and just going into a mostly bot-filled match.

This was one of my biggest concerns after playing at PAX, especially with such a niche title. Granted, on release, I’m sure there will be a few days where lobbies are full, but just like with the deluge of asymmetrical multiplayer games out there besides a select few, matches will be really hard to get into. Having a game with bots wouldn’t be such a huge issue if the bots were competent at all. Hell, filling a match-up with bots was one of my favorite ways to play Perfect Dark back in the day because they knew how to work within the parameters of the game. In Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game, that’s not the case. Most of the bots just run around aimlessly without attempting to complete any of the escape goals. They’re basically just fodder.

Reminiscent of Jason

Gameplay-wise, Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game tries something different, and mostly because it feels like Illfonic tried to emulate and evolve their gameplay mechanics from Friday The 13th. Players enter the map with some clues on how to escape. They hunt objects down while evading the Klowns to fix or unlock escape routes that only stay open for a short period and are then closed forever. It usually involves gasoline and spark plugs. There is also a last-ditch escape plan that serves as a tie to the movies that I won’t spoil here.

On the Klown side, it’s pretty much hunting the humans down and turning them into cocoons while meddling with their escape plans. It can be fun with the right group of people but tends to get tedious after the first few matches. The big thing here is that the humans can take down the Klowns by attacking their noses. This is mainly done with guns and knives. It helps the players breathe a little when the Klowns find out the plan to press the attack. Interestingly enough, once the humans get armed enough, it becomes very easy to escape, as the Klown respawn timer is remarkably long.

Bugs Aplenty

Even though there are fun moments within the gameplay experience of Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game, it’s marred by some really nasty bugs. They range from minor texture pop-ins and models getting stretched out to the sky (particularly the Klowns) all the way to hard locking matches and hard crashes. One night, I spent roughly three hours playing the game but was only able to finish three matches.

An especially nasty bug had all the players escape, but none of us could spectate other players or even bring up the escape menu. So, we let the timer run out as the Klown ran around the map. But when the timer ran out, the game just kept going. We had to close out of the game and lose out on the 20-plus minutes of time and progress. Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game fights you constantly even to play the game.

Friday The 13th was a great game and let the players soak up the world before the apparent takedown. Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game feels like the exact opposite of that. Hopefully some patches can fix up the game because it’s very, very rough.

I like Illfonic. I had a lot of fun with Friday The 13th. Hell, even Predator Hunting Grounds and Ghostbusters Spirits Unleased had their moment of high tension and fun. This feels like the first real swing and miss from the studio, and it hurts. Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game especially hurts as a fan of the movie because there is something interesting there. But whatever this is, it just isn’t it. 

2.5

Summary

Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game is another nail in the asymmetrical horror multiplayer coffin.

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