Press "Enter" to skip to content
Minus World

Uh oh! You've reached a glitched section of Hard Drive where the news is real!

The Hard Drive Staff Reviews ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game’

Thomas Wilde: The PR team from Illfonic reached out to me and said, “Why not check out our new asymmetrical multiplayer horror game, Killer Klowns from Outer Space?” As a red-blooded American, my first thought was, “How can I leverage this scenario in such a way as to murder my co-workers?”

That’s why I’ve recruited you, my team of comedy-writing clowns, to play this game with and/or against me as a referendum. Will this replace the occasionally literal hole that Friday the 13th: The Game left in our hearts?

Brett McCabe: Considering it boots up with a parody of the classic FBI piracy warning, showcases a soundtrack from the original composer, and has dozens of over-the-top kill scenes, the only things lacking from the ‘80s era are scan lines.

Thomas: And cocaine, but you can’t have everything.

Brett: Speak for yourself.

Testament Crux: The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion at the beginning teleports me into a goofy B-movie mindset faster than the evil Klowns teleport directly into my personal space.

Yup, they can do that. A normal match contains three Klowns capable of all sorts of lethal shenanigans, fatal gags, and deathly tomfoolery. The seven humans, meanwhile, can only sneak around and scavenge for anything that might help them escape a grimly hilarious death.

Ajay Kakaarni: Our first human game was harrowing. After we spawned in, I was immediately separated from the group, which does not fly in this game. Squeaking footsteps really put you on edge and it’s usually the first sign you’re being chased.

Ciro Jacubowicz: But by the time you hear the squeaking, it’s too late. The Klown is upon you and soon you’ll be a cocoon made of cotton candy or a melted human sundae with a cherry on top.

Brett: Playing as a human sucks as you’re just trapped in an expanded slaughterhouse. Playing as a clown is for sick little freaks. I really think there is a sadomasochistic lean to which team you prefer. And I prefer to win, so call me Marquis.

Ajay: The maps feel like just the right size to get lost in, but small enough to learn. I never felt like I was trapped unless I wasn’t paying attention. The levels are really nice to look at and the attention to detail of this little lakeside town sold the atmosphere.

I found myself in a beautiful mid-century modern home, and I mean gorgeous. Slanted roof. Muted pinks and burnt orange walls. All pulled together by tasteful shag carpeting and coastal decor. They just don’t make stuff like that anymore. Not without a hefty price tag. I went couch shopping with my wife the other day and you can’t look at a gray sectional without a thousand bucks. That’s not even considering end ta–

Brett: These are not particularly interesting designs. Stop trying to validate your architecture degree.

Ajay: I don’t have an architecture degree. It’s just a passion. Christ.

Thomas: Anyway, we got smoked in a couple of rounds by somebody who, to go by what he was yelling into his mic, an angry child with an inappropriate PSN handle. Naturally, this is a crucial part of the modern multiplayer experience. I had to go out afterward and legally buy beer, just to make myself feel better about the situation.

Ajay: That was the kid toying with me. Couldn’t have been older than 8 or 9. He stuffed me into a bag, telling me how much I suck. Yeah, iLoveKissingMen9? I drive. I’m married. I work. What do you do?

Brett: Likely contribute to a problematic group chat which is, frankly, relatable.

Ciro: I saw something similar in another match, where the Klowns offered a truce to the last survivor over voice chat, but then they surrounded him and executed him firing-squad style.

Brett: I don’t know whether to award the roleplaying or call their parents.

Ajay: I loved the minion-spawning mechanic when you play Klowns. You take big cotton-candy bulbs to a goofy machine that spits out little monster guys that slow humans down, giving matches a fun flow with some surprisingly fun but simple combat.

Ciro: There’s a nicely balanced push and pull between the Klowns and the humans. In contrast to Dead by Daylight, the survivors can put up a good fight, provided they stick together and arm themselves well. The game rewards skilled play on both sides. I always felt I had a chance at victory when I encountered the enemy.

Testament: It’s sort of an arms race. As humans stock up on weapons and tools, the map grows more populated with NPC Klown lackeys. Things get more dangerous for everyone. The humans are playing a battle royale while the Klowns are playing a MOBA.

Ciro: I have to imagine that the decision to invade Earth was very controversial in the Klown home planet’s parliament. A narrow vote where the Klownpublicans beat the DemoKlowns by a 5 vote margin. The DemoKlowns probably warned everyone that they were running out of resources on Klownworld, but when it came down to it they voted in favor of opening a new laughing gas pipeline instead of solar whoopee cushions.

Brett: I like the idea of Klowns on JesterGram posting info-graphics about Earth and writing #MakeLarkNotWar.

Ciro: An underexplored question within the game is whether the Klowns will return to their home planet with post-traumatic stress disorder from the bloodshed they saw in the line of duty. Does Giggles wake up screaming in the night thinking about the child he turned into cotton candy because it threw a rock at him? Does Fatso see the face of the girl he squashed with a squeaky mallet every time he closes his eyes? Does Jumbo need an ayahuasca ceremony to forgive himself for what transpired in the circus tent massacre?

Brett: More importantly: do Klowns have any fun slurs for humans?

Testament: I’d be happy to pitch some.

Brett: What? Like Screen slaves? Big Gulps?

Testament: I was thinking something more like “smallnose” but I like where your head’s at. Let’s meet up for a workshop this weekend. In a hundred years, they’ll be using our ideas to name sports teams.

Brett: I’m ready to preorder a football jersey that my granddaughter will call out during Thanksgiving.

Ciro: It’s definitely a loyal adaptation. Almost everything from the popcorn guns to the balloon dog bloodhounds is straight out of the movie. Tragically, they neglected to add in the ginormous Klownzilla from the ending. I really love the aesthetic. The Klowns have bulbous heads powdered white and garish frilly collars that make them look like a demented parody of Elizabethan royal fashion. There are dozens of customization options for the humans, but they all fit in perfectly with the game’s 80s style. You won’t stick out like a sore thumb like pink Darth Vader in Star Wars Battlefront 2 or Snoop Dogg in Call of Duty: Warzone.

Thomas: I didn’t put that much time into Illfonic’s F13, but I can see the shared DNA with Klowns. It’s not quite as asymmetrical as that was. In fact, it’s incredibly satisfying when some Klown honks up to you without noticing that there are 4 other humans with bats standing there.

You didn’t really get those moments of cathartic gang violence in F13, outside of the very occasional Jason kill, and Klowns is better for their inclusion.

One of the weird things about the formula, however, is that the difference between a novice and an experienced player mostly comes down to map knowledge. It’s really easy for a human to end up isolated and alone with no game plan.

There’s also a real issue where humans can start the match within direct line of sight of Klowns, before the humans have the chance to scrounge up weapons or defensive tools, so they end up as sitting ducks. That could use a fix. It was sort of okay in F13 that every once in a while, you’d start a match as a counselor and get insta-merked by Jason, because that was the genre. Here, it’s meant to be more of a push-pull, so dying in the first couple of minutes feels worse.

Testament: Multiplayer games that feature permadeath face a consistent problem: being dead is boring. You have nothing to do but watch your living teammates either clutch out the W or get absolutely bonked by an oversized cartoon mallet, whichever comes first. Killer Klowns is the first game I’ve played that addresses this issue in a meaningful way. Humans who are dead (or have escaped) can play minigames that allow them to supply other humans with extra items. Once in a while, those items might even be useful. Mostly, though, you’ll be conjuring tennis balls and popsicles from beyond the grave. Thanks, spirits! It’s technically better than nothing.

Ciro: Also, once per round you can bring back all the dead humans using a respawn machine. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to experience that aspect of the game, as I was far too good to ever die.

Thomas: You know I recorded our matches, right?

Testament: Let the record show that Ciro is a special kind of sadist who cackled with glee whenever he got to play as a Klown. (Klowns, luckily, respawn on their own after a short time.)

Ciro: Everyone I know constantly calls me a clown. Little did I know they weren’t demeaning my unserious nature, but instead praising my knack for human-harvesting!

Testament: There’s also a decent level of character customization. Though most options need to be unlocked, you’ll do so rather briskly. My favorite part, however, is that you can choose to be a female Klown, because it changes nothing about your appearance besides giving you a horrible pair of monstrous, saggy tits. Thank you, Illfonic, for helping to create a more inclusive space for all body types. They have jiggle physics.

When I first opened the game, I swiftly created an affront to God and man known disappointingly as Hatsune Miklown.

Thomas: Well, that’s not okay.

Testament: Correct.

Ciro: She put the mother klown in a slay cocoon.

Brett: Japanese incels are already flooding the DMs. When does her hologram tour hit my town? And is she poly?

Testament: I’m afraid she’s not looking for a relationship right now. Her only true loves are J-pop, japery, and extermination of the human race.

Thomas: Changing the subject away from that, I’d argue that Killer Klowns is a solid evolution of the model that Illfonic started with Friday the 13th.

Testament: I agree. Killer Klowns feels like the next step forward for asymmetric horror as a whole. Forty American dollars is definitely ambitious, but it’s polished enough to be a veritable must-play for both asymmetric horror fans and the two or three people who maintain the Killer Klowns wiki.

Thomas: What I’d like to see is a shift away from nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. They’ve mined about all they can from a single 1988 movie, including most of the “Klowntality” finishers. Since there’s apparently been a Killer Klowns 2 stuck in development hell for 30 years, you might as well make this game into that sequel, and start to explore some new territory.

Testament: Personally, I hadn’t heard of the movie until I played the game, so I have no rose-tinted goggles. In fact, I have the opposite. My initial reaction to grotesque alien clowns was a visceral disgust mixed with bewilderment, but hey, maybe that’s part of the charm? No? What is it that fans enjoy about Killer Klowns from Outer Space? What does anyone even like about clowns? I earnestly have no idea, but in fairness, I have no human soul.

Antisocial single-player freaks like me may have a hard time staying hooked on this game, but it’s still worth a shot for novelty’s sake at the very least. If you have a sweet tooth for trying new and unique experiences in gaming, you’ll find something of interest in Killer Klowns even if it doesn’t blow you away. It’s not really “for” me, but that’s okay. It’s not for everyone. Maybe it’s for you.

All right, fine, I got whooped by children. Are you happy?

Ciro: It’s a whole lot of fun. The aesthetic is perfectly realized, and the Klowns can be quite intimidating even though you have many decent options for fighting back. This is as good as it gets when it comes to asymmetric multiplayer horror games.

Brett: This game isn’t for anyone craving more Killer Klown lore with a fulfilling narrative, but if your apartment walls are decorated with horror VHS and DVDs and your once-black hoodie has a protective layer of cat hair, your pocket popcorn bazooka is going to pop for this loyal adaptation.

Ajay: If you’ve ever thought, “Geez, I wish I could turn around and beat the brakes off the killer” while playing Dead By Daylight, this is your game. The stakes are lower, and that’s to its benefit. Perfect for grabbing a couple of pals, popping on Discord and throwing down.

If you have the misfortune of meeting iLoveKissingMen9, give them my worst.

Hello adventurer! Please collect five USD skins a month and head to our Patreon.
Become a patron at Patreon!