Review: Gang Beasts (PS4)

Review: Gang Beasts (PS4)

2017 Golden Minecart Awards:

  • Most Unique Experience (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC, Mac, Linux

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Gang Beasts
Format: PSN (3.98 GB)
Release Date: December 12, 2017
Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Developer: Boneloaf
Original MSRP: $19.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
It feels strange to finally be able to write a review for Gang Beasts. After all, the game has been available to play in one form or another since 2014. But it finally graduated from its Early Access state and is now considered complete, or finished.

For those unfamiliar with Gang Beasts it’s a multiplayer beat ‘em up in which players control human like blobs with the only objective being to incapacitate the other players and be the last beast standing.

The controls are weird. You have the basics – run, jump, punch, kick, and headbutt. What makes them weird is the unwieldy physics that can sometimes border on unreliable, but in a way, it’s chaotic and fun. This is a fighting game, if a fighting game was a little bit tipsy.

Players don’t have health bars, instead they need to rely on hazards and knocking opponents off the stage to eliminate them. Eliminating people is not an easy task because the fighters are resilient while the nature of the controls makes for a perfect storm of chaos and fun. Sometimes matches turn into an endurance competition and you have to hope your opponent(s) make a mistake you can capitalize on.

There are a couple modes with the main two being the competitive Melee and the cooperative Waves. Melee is where most people will spend their time. It’s the every person for themself mode while the Waves mode is the game’s version of a horde mode. In this mode, you and or your partners battle increasing numbers of AI enemies and wow is it intense. The AI is difficult and can pull off moves with ease and I honestly couldn’t get by the first couple of waves and just stuck with the standard Melee because of it.

The magic and nuance in Gang Beasts is difficult to quantify. This is truly one of those experiences you have to get your hands on to appreciate and understand. I adore this game in a local multiplayer setting as its gameplay is so easy to learn for casual and core gamers. Each time I introduced it to someone there was only a few seconds of learning the controls before everyone was off to the races and having a good time.

Visuals:
The characters are these little generic looking creatures that are different colors and can be made to look adorable with the large assortment of costumes available. You have everything from animal pajamas to luchadores and even Rick and Morty costumes. Every character is a different bright color which makes them stand out so it’s easier to keep track of them during full matches.

Level design is fantastic, each stage requires different strategies as they’re all vastly different. Most have some sort of gimmick like moving trains, a working ferris wheel, and large meat grinders. More complex stages involve fighting on moving trucks or on a blimp. Each one completely changes strategies and can be the cause of someone’s victory or defeat.

Audio:
When it comes to the soundtrack, it’s filled with music that perfectly balances the chaos of a match while maintaining a sound reminiscent of more serious fighting games. All the individual tracks from the catchy main menu theme to the stage specific tracks blend together and make a soundtrack I’d probably listen to outside of the game.

Online/Multiplayer:
I really think Gang Beasts shines in local multiplayer, but for those that can’t gather a small group of friends, the online is functional. I won’t say the online experience is great because it sometimes can take a bit of time to be matched up, and even when that happens you might see some lag and players drop out over time.

There’s also the annoying problem of load times between matches which would also lead to the game hanging up and kicking me to the main menu when it couldn’t keep a connection the the lobby.

I wish the online experience was better, but this game feels like it was made to be played locally so its lack of online features and stability doesn’t bother me too much.

Conclusion:
Gang Beasts is a fantastic multiplayer game that’s best played locally. It’s easy to learn and fun for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you have little experience with games or you consider yourself a pro, Gang Beasts can be enjoyed by both at the same time.

The controls and the physics combine for some of the wackiest situations you’ll find in a game. I’ve been playing this since its Early Access days and even now, years later, I still load the game up when I have people over because it always delivers. If you’re looking for another staple to add to your local multiplayer playlist then Gang Beasts can fill that role.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook