Gang Beasts

If you know me, then you may already know that I’ve got a 6-year-old (almost 7!) niece who loves to play video games with me. Destiny 2, Halo, and Left 4 Dead are the titles we visit most often, but I’m always looking for something else I can play with her. She has hopped onto Unravel 2 with me, but most of the time, she just jumps on my back and has me carry her through the level. I’m always looking for something I can play with her, and since she moved to another state, finding a co-op game with online capabilities hasn’t been the easiest.

For her birthday, I went searching for something and found Gang Beasts. I bought it on a whim and gifted a copy to her. It had bubbly graphics, goofy gameplay, and seemed like a kid-friendly game we could get down on. That night, I hopped on by myself and instantly regretted buying it. The controls are confusing and while I was laughing at how awful I was, I thought there is NO WAY my niece is going to like this.

Well, we tried it anyway and to my surprise, it was actually a lot of fun! The big mistake I made with this game is trying to play it alone. It is a completely different experience if you play online. Local play by yourself is mostly getting your butt kicked by AI as you try to mash buttons and hope you do some damage. Online is a whole different world. Finding yourself matched with other, equally confused, strangers is hilarious and adds another dimension to the game that you just don’t get on your own.

My niece and I hopped in different modes, but mostly found ourselves in Gang or Waves. Gang mode is one team versus another and they are all real people connected to the session. The first team to win three rounds is the champion. My only gripe with this really is I don’t understand how matchmaking works. We would find ourselves in games where it was just the two of us versus a team of five.

Part of what makes the game so fun is that despite being on a team, you can still end up attacking the wrong people. As my niece beautifully displays in this next video, she picks me up, throws me off the map, and then takes out the other person… and herself.

Every round is a different level and each has its own challenges. Some have hazards to avoid while others have ledges or moving parts that threaten your safety. Here is another example of my niece’s betrayal in the perilous elevator level. We are in the right elevator. She hops in, tosses me, and tosses herself somehow:

You often find that sometimes your own worst enemy is yourself. Poor depth perception and spatial awareness combined with a lack of understanding about the pitfalls of the level can have you throwing a match before you even start it:

And sometimes, you’ll get lucky and find yourself matched with people who understand even less about the game than you do. One thing that can be a bit difficult is the shifting camera angle. In this next clip, my niece took off running for some reason and the camera followed her so I couldn’t see myself at the bottom of the screen very well:

When all else fails, sometimes it is easier to grab your opponent and jump into the abyss with them as my niece so perfectly showcases in this Waves level we faced:

Overall, this isn’t a game I expect I’ll be good at. In fact, most of what makes it so fun is how bad you are at it. This game is best experienced with others and is mindless fun. It doesn’t really explain the controls and looking at the button setup in the menu doesn’t really help either, but you’ll start to accidentally learn tricks the more you play. My niece went so far as to call it her “favorite game ever” which is pretty high praise. What I feared would be a dud of a birthday gift ended up being a pretty great purchase after all.

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