Gang Beasts: Multiplayer Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Lately, games have not taken themselves too seriously, and that’s okay. Games like Battle Born, Plants vs Zombies, and Ratchet and Clank all strum to a more comical string. Along with these titles is indie hit Gang Beasts. The original game released in August of 2014, and is now adding a multiplayer function. A lot of the joy of playing Gang Beasts (if not all of it) comes from playing with others. This is very much a competitive game although it doesn’t necessarily mean to be, the people playing can elevate or take down the amount of distraction and happiness as with any multiplayer experience. Being serious or not serious is what this game was meant to encumber. Anything your eyes want to see some little characters do is probably possible in Gang Beasts. I never had so much fun watching people I had no relation or knowing of fool around without using language. Gang Beasts is developed by Boneloaf studios and published by Double Fine Presents. Both of these original makers are still all in as the game gets its first huge update.

Spectating was required often before I got into the nonstop action of Gang Beasts.

The simple objective of Gang Beasts is to throw, trip, or fool the other players off of the edge of any given map. Things like blades and obstacles also facilitate interesting gameplay. The characters that people play as have no face and express themselves through every single input their controller gives off. Arm movement, grabbing things, and even going prone are all part of the player’s available moves. These manoeuvres are used to gain victory over your other coloured counterparts. The third person camera makes it easy to see these other players and the death that is coming your way. This all ties together to make a somewhat Smash Bros-like 3-D fighting game that has its own amount of character. Speaking of characters, the ones that you can choose from are all fairly colourful (Blue, yellow, green, dark green, brown, red, purple, and bright blue) and sharply resemble vinyl figures. The individualism of each character help tell the players apart and make people choose their favourite characters of which there are animals, office workers, and even truck drivers. Even though every single one does the same thing, everyone has a favourite.

Immediately following my opening of the Gang Beasts menu, I was greeted by a simplistic view. In this online beta, the only playable mode is of course, multiplayer. Clicking through this mode brings a list of servers; surprisingly only seven available. Each one has a range assigned to it; from the US-based to EU based servers. What is surprising is the choice to assign a map to each server. Players are unable to pick a map at the beginning of each game and are instead forced to play on one of two maps that is paired to that particular server. The only maps I saw in the Beta included Subway and Grind. Subway is just as it sounds. Steaming trains head down the far and close paths planning to wreck anything or anyone crossing their way. It also contains some cones. You know, for safety. Grind is a bit different, offering players the chance to make their heated rivalries even hotter when they throw their adversaries in lava. This map is surrounded by the molten grime, with meat grinders scattered throughout the small room. Yellow guard rails also let players frantically hold on for another chance at life. These maps might have been rotated every so often but for the most part, these maps are all I played on. This is a shame as the other maps that are contained within the main game are extremely fun and while I am sure they are coming later in the project’s life, I missed them sorely.

The yellow guard rails and grinders made Grind a spectacular all-around fighting map.

When joining these multiplayer skirmishes you are grouped with three other people, or however many may play on that particular server. The servers did not restrict joining too much. Sometimes trying to join matches from Europe (I’m in the United States) granted me a “connection issue” prompt. This hindered my ability to join a match somewhat, but playing on strictly the U.S. servers granted me entrance into the humorous action. Of the seven servers, four are dedicated to the United States and three to Europe, but this might change soon. Another hurdle awaits you after connection, though, if the game is already in motion I had to wait some time before the current match finished. This sometimes took longer than anticipated due to the nature of play. No game clock or death clock counts down, therefore, I was stuck looking at some people delaying the end of the game. This made the actual gameplay last shorter than waiting to find a valid server and for the active players to finish playing. It was much like visiting an amusement park, I was waiting to visit this very fun and enjoyable experience but was hassled by constant lines. A huge bug also did nothing to help the long wait times. Often I would try to pick my character and the whole selection screen would turn grey and basically lock me in, forcing me to quit Gang Beasts altogether and reboot.

The actual gameplay is very approachable yet deep. Playing against other people in a death match was very amusing and the way my character swung his arms and head around made for some giggles. Environmental hazards also took part in shaping the way people fought on levels. Saws, great heights, and even destructible aspects of maps made fighting in Gang Beasts highly dependent to each map I played on. Even more alluring was the way every player participated in Gang Beasts. Some chased after you with weapons found on the map, some knocked you out and threw you over the edge, and some even hid until all the players killed themselves. This made combat more adaptable and constructing a strategy was a big advantage in overall competition, but none of this is ever necessary. Gang Beasts has an overall feel that compels players to do whatever the heck they want to do. I often saw that taking place in many of my matches as well. Players wiggled like snakes on the floor, danced to their hearts’ content, and even did some R-rated activities. While this can be annoying sometimes, when you’re actually doing it, rules go out the windows and you feel at home with a bunch of garbage-minded maniacs the world over.