Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game hands-on preview

Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game

When you think of the great horror/suspense movies of the 80s and 90s what titles come to mind? If you were born in the 90s, you more than likely have seen a ton of horror movies probably before they were age-appropriate, but that was some of their charm.

Horror movies such as Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Aliens, Predator, Gremlins, The Evil Dead, and Hellraiser have continued to be beloved while others have been forgotten.

These franchises have continued to stay prevalent due the continuation of the franchises and their addition in other pop-culture aspects. Dead by Daylight has continued to make beloved Horror franchises live on.

Other horror franchises have attempted to recreate the success of Dead by Daylight but failed (Friday the 13th: The Game, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre game, and Evil Dead: The Game.)

Now, one forgotten gem looks to succeed where others have failed; that forgotten gem is Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Now with the return of the Klown franchise thanks to IllFonic’s Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game and a sequel film in the works, it could be time for players to Klown around.

At PAX East 2024, we had the opportunity to meet with Illfonic and talk with the team before previewing Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game. Get our full hands-on preview for Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game below:

Gameplay Session 1 (Human)

Our gameplay session was a bit out of the ordinary due to a scheduling conflict. Before our meeting, the appointment had to be rescheduled due to a last-minute change of plans for the PAX East panel; at that panel, PAX East attendees had the opportunity to see, meet, and ask the Chiodo Brothers questions.

Because our appointment was rescheduled, our first hands-on experience with Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game was against the Chiodo Brothers; the three brothers played as the clowns while the rest of us played as the humans.

Unlike my other human counterparts, I did not get to look at the controller/keyboard layouts before jumping into the match; in fact, the match started while we were all setting up.

This made everyone rush to figure out what was going on and how to best achieve their goals survive vs capture. In this asymmetrical horror game, it is either you fight back, escape, or you are turned into goo.

As a human, your ultimate goal is to escape. Escaping is no easy task with us having to coordinate how we wanted to without giving away our location to the clowns.

While playing as the human, you will need to be careful with how much noise you make to avoid drawing the clown’s attention; you can set up ambushes or distractions by turning on lights, radios, and TVs so that you can sneak away. Players can see one another’s approximate location using the radar. ‘

Don’t worry, if a clown finds you, you still have a chance to escape or survive. Fight back with one of the many varieties of weapons and know that just because you’ve been captured doesn’t mean you are out of the fight.

Hell, even when you are dead you can still help your teammates by playing mini-games to send them supplies. Once you have incapacitated a clown you will need to take it out. Using a sharp instrument or a gun can take out the clowns and make it so that they will have to respawn.

My Experience as Human

During my hands-on with the demo, I struggled to get used to the keyboard controls; this isn’t due to an awkward layout but more so lies on my reliance on using a controller. Despite hand-cramping, understanding the basic controls was fairly simple, but finding my way was not.

Like any game, when you jump in the first time you have to get a lay of the land and figure out what is going on. The combat was smooth and easy enough to understand. The lack of inventory to carry multiple weapons though confused me; could this be the base character until you unlock/find a backpack or do the developers want you to be strategic with we choose?

While searching the map to escape/find weapons, I came across one of the Chiodo brothers and was able to bash their clown’s head in but not take them out. In order to take them out, you have to take out their head.

Despite taking one of them down, I fell victim to their advanced alien technology and was captured. Thankfully, a teammate was able to takedown and kill one of the clowns before I was turned into Goo.

Once free from the pod, we made our way to the bridge to try and escape. A team member of ours found the key and was able to open it. Sadly, only a certain amount of players were able to cross it to escape; we left behind one of our fellow comrades. As we escaped, we saw the killer Klowns jump out of the sky and turn our friend into a sacrifice.

Throughout the whole demo, it did not feel like either side had a massive advantage over the other. Yes, the clowns have superior technology and abilities, but teamwork made it so that the humans could overpower/outsmart the Klowns.

The addition of the mini-games once players have escaped or when dead is a nice touch that keeps players engaged while supporting others. Playing as the human didn’t feel like a punishment, but instead felt like a fun game of cat vs mouse.

From Hunted to Hunter

Since our original appointment had to be rescheduled, we came back on Saturday to play as the Killer Klowns. Since we got to play as the humans on Friday, it was time to send in the Klowns.

As the Klowns, you have multiple ways to accomplish victory either capture/kill all the humans or get enough energy goo to power the cannons. Goo Sacks can be found throughout the map and be carried to the cannon trees. When a human is downed, the Klowns can capture them and attach them to the trees. Hanging from trees does not mean immediate death for the humans.

After enough goo pods are hung, new abilities are unlocked. These abilities make it easier to take down or kill the humans. Klowns can also jump up to the ship and land around the map.

With communication, it makes it easy to hunt down the humans. At PAX East, we really didn’t get the chance to rely on communication but succeeded by working as a team and watching one another. As the Klowns, only one human escaped our grasps.

In Asymmetric horror games, it is always fun to be the predator rather than the prey. What Illfonic has done is create a well-balanced game that rewards players for what they do rather than making either side overpowered.

A skilled player with a tactical approach should beat one that is going in blindly. Coordination is ultimately key, but Illfonic has made it a fun experience rather than one you have to stress out over.

Yes, the horror elements are there. When a Klown jumps out of nowhere you will still probably jump or feel your heart race, but you know that there is still a chance to fight back.

This is what makes Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game so addicting, there is always a chance for your team to win and always a way to survive. It will be interesting to see how the team has crafted the out-of-game skill system to reward players with character growth while still balancing the gameplay elements.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game is set to launch on June 4th across Windows PC (via Steam), Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5.

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Hardcore gaming enthusiast, cosplayer, streamer, Tall Anime lover (6ft 9), and a die-hard competitor. I have been a Pop-Culture Journalist since 2011 specializing in shooters, Pokemon, and RPGs.

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