Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game Review (PS5)

Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game Review - Screenshot 1 of 6

What’s so enduring about the 1988 comedy-horror movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space is its stalwart dedication to the bit. Almost every kill the klowns make refers to some comedy act or circus trick, from shadow puppets scarfing down a group of pensioners to a puppet show turning into a shootout. Unfortunately, Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game doesn’t match its freak.

In this asymmetric, third-person multiplayer experience, seven humans clash against three klowns to fight for survival. The people have to utilise escape routes to, well, escape, while klowns try to turn them into cotton candy cocoons to trigger the klownpocalyspe.

Human objectives include finding spark plugs to fix boats and teleporters, fuel for a bunker, and a key for a locked gate. You’ve got to complete timed button press minigames to avoid alerting the klowns while clearing an escape route; it’s a fun way to keep people engaged and they’re also used when you die, allowing you to gift items to remaining survivors.

As a klown, you hunt humans down to kill or cocoon them. You have some powers, like the film’s iconic super jump that teleports you anywhere on the map, temporary super strength, and a hypnotic lure. It’s not very rewarding as you can go most of your match hunting for cocoons without worrying about the people.

You unlock more klown and survivor archetypes with varied health, speed, and stamina stats as you level up, as well as new cosmetics. It’s simple and satisfying. Combat doesn’t feel good, however. There’s very little feedback and fights boil down to mashing the attack button until someone is dead. You can stun klowns by throwing objects at their nose, but they have so much health that one-on-one, humans stand little chance due to their severely limited inventory space.

Most disappointing is the lack of clown comedy. Their shoes squeak when they walk and there are some jokey lines of dialogue, but no hilarious kills. As a human, sometimes a funny cutscene will play when you die, but that doesn’t translate to combat. There’s no clown cars or circus tricks, no killer klown spaceship to fight in. Just rural, small town American levels littered with guns and melee weapons. Without the film’s silliness, there’s little reason to play Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game over other popular asymmetric horror titles.

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