The Average Gamer

Indie Rock: Gang Beasts

Gang Beasts Ferris Wheel
In the run up to the launch of “World Gone Sour”, a platformer about the sweetie candy Sour Patch Kids, Method Man from the Wu Tang Clan put out a single as an act of promotion. The song was about how dangerous these treats could be if left unattended. His words animated the Candy Men, turned them from overly sugary dietary mistakes into genuine threats to human safety. Mischievous living glucose devils that would wreck your property as a source of entertainment. It was as if he commanded the power of rap-based golemancy.

That video game wasn’t very good. It never came out in my native country and has already been forgotten about by the rest of the world where it actually did see a release. The premise of a game about mischievous candy people has stuck with me, like a Gummy Venus de Milo, despite how utterly ludicrous that is to hang onto.

Gang Beasts is a game which actually makes good on The Method Man Prophecy. Maybe the characters within it slightly more resemble a rounder Morph, but their attitudes, their colouring, oh man. These kids are all sorts of sour.

Y’know how Octodad is a game about limiting player control? Making it so that the Octodad’s struggle to remain undetected is felt by making everyday activities into challenges. Gang Beasts is that, but a multiplayer fighting game. You are a clay blob. You can punch and jump. If you punch another clay blob you can lift it up and then try to throw it out of the world.

In practice, you’re not doing that. Each of the four of you is flailing around like barbiturated toddlers.

The Gang Beasts website says that the team’s influences for this game are The Warriors and Escape From New York, but the movie it most reminds me of is Bridget Jones’s Diary; specifically the scene where Colin Firth and Hugh Grant fight each other but don’t have any experience in how to actually do that properly. It’s an embarrassing mess of flailing limbs, improved by the music choice of It’s Rainin’ Men (which, in Gang Beasts, you unfortunately have to provide yourself).

Gang Beasts Boxing RingA few of Gang Beast’s levels are better than the others. There’s one with a massive fire in the middle of the map and a conveyer belt throwing boxes into it. If you can get your enemies into the fire then you win. It’s alright. It’s best for showing off the ridiculous physics, but it’s not nearly as good as a level which takes place on two window-cleaning platforms which can be dislodged with your mistimed punches, sending everyone accidentally splattering down to the street below.

The other best stage is two moving trucks which swerve around. It’s possible to stay alive just by hanging onto the side and waiting for the remaining players to inevitably knock themselves off. Gosh. What a silly goddamn video game.

A version of it is free and out now. Get a few friends over and whack it on.