It’s so clever, because it’s so dumb, the idea behind Gang Beasts: Take the isometric arena brawling of Power Stone 2 (complete with environmental hazards) and make the combatants little ineffectual Play-Doh people, punching and pummeling, lifting each other up and tossing all comers off to oblivion.
It’s like if Octodad were a character in Super Smash Bros. Or if you could play QWOP competitively.
That’s the real magic: Taking the wonky-controls-as-comedy genre and applying it to a competitive multiplayer setting. Two to eight players, just sort of flopping around and bumping into one another, but doing so with a certain undeniable seriousness. This is absurd, but even so, I’m clearly better at it than you are and furthermore I’m going to prove it.
Gang Beasts is an Early Access title, published by DoubleFine, and it should be said that it’s in a much earlier state than, say, DoubleFine’s own Hack ‘n’ Slash. The game is undeniably in alpha, rough around basically all of its edges, with menus that need work, sometimes-dodgy framerates, and lack of variety in characters and settings.
If you can look past that, though, there’s already tremendous fun to be had provided that you can wrangle some friends and get them into the spirit—not too hard with my group of friends, but your mileage may vary. The old alpha version is still free if you’d like to give it a shot without committing to the vagaries of Early Access.
I daresay this is one to watch. Straightforward as Nidhogg and dead-serious about its sillier-than-hell core mechanic, Gang Beasts has the potential to become a fixture at right-thinking parties everywhere. Bring it on.