Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game review: Circus of horror

Published , by Donovan Erskine

IllFonic is one of the most prolific names in the asymmetrical horror genre, adapting franchises such as Friday the 13th, Predator, and Ghostbusters for the format. In its latest effort, the studio tackles Killer Klowns From Outer Space, the 1988 cult classic horror comedy film created by the Chiodo Brothers. It’s a fun, well-refined asymmetrical horror game, even if it doesn’t do much to push the genre forward.

They came from outer space

Source: IllFonic

Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game follows the standard asymmetrical multiplayer format, with human characters attempting to flee from dangerous aliens in the form of circus clowns. In a full lobby, there are three Klowns and seven Humans. Fans of the 1988 movie will recognize Spikey, Jumbo, Chubby, and Rudy as playable Klowns.

Throughout a 15-minute match, the Humans must carefully explore the map, searching for items that will help them unlock one of several possible exits. They must do so while the Klowns hunt them down, hoping to turn them into cotton candy cocoons and eventually kill them. KKFOS features five maps at launch; four based on locations from the movie, and an original one designed to expand the universe's lore.

Cotton candy kills

Source: IllFonic

Playing as a human, KKFOS gives you plenty of tools to defend yourself while you hatch an escape plan. This includes weapons that can be used to stun (and even kill) Klowns, and food items to replenish your health. There are lootable containers just about everywhere, and even when there’s nothing inside of them, you still earn XP. There are various timing-based minigames that you must complete to successfully hide, save teammates, and activate exit routes. A solid balance of skill and luck incentivizes you to cooperate with your teammates.

The Klowns have powerful abilities that unlock throughout the match. This includes teleporting across the map, temporarily healing themselves, increasing damage, and detecting nearby humans. Once you’ve spotted a human, attacking them with your ranged or melee weapon will fill a meter that can eventually turn them into a sugary cocoon. Once placed at a hook station, the human will die permanently if not saved before the timer runs out.

Source: IllFonic

The Klown and Human classes counter each other well. Klowns have much more powerful weapons and abilities at their disposal, but humans can run faster and can vault over obstacles, allowing them to create distance between themselves and their pursuers. When a human dies, you can still aid your team by granting them items and weapons. I had a harrowing moment where I was hiding from a nearby Klown in a dumpster, when a baseball bat appeared in my inventory, courtesy of a fallen ally.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game might have some of the best sound design I’ve experienced in an asymmetrical horror game. Not because of how good it sounds (it sounds great), but the way it factors into gameplay. The Klowns have a squeaky sound they make when walking. Something that you’ll likely shrug off and laugh at while playing as one, but will be horrified to hear as a human. As a human, everything you do generates noise, as depicted by an on-screen spectrogram.

Sugar coating

Source: IllFonic

One of my recurring frustrations with KKFOS was the clunky movement. Neither class feels smooth to maneuver, but the humans feel extra tricky to control. They turn awkwardly, and their sprint would frequently continue for several seconds as I tried to toggle it off. It felt like piloting a vehicle. There’s a button that allows you to see behind you, which is neat, but it uses an over-the-shoulder POV instead of just flipping the camera down. This means that your view is partially obscured by your own head and shoulders. This is clearly by design but feels awkward as a player trying to do a quick check to see what (or who) is behind them.

The 15-minute match timer is a few minutes too long. There’s a sense of momentum as humans gather the materials needed to plot an escape, or as Klowns begin to rack up kills, but the lengthy match time inevitably leads to lulls where there’s little action and you’re just wandering around trying to find an objective. That said, the Klownpocalypse that triggers at the end of the timer is a pretty cool visual that I enjoyed every time it happened.

In general, KKFOS isn’t doing much to push the asymmetrical multiplayer genre forward. That’s fine, as IllFonic has clearly put a lot of effort into refining the existing features and mechanics in the genre. If you like these kinds of games, you’ll probably like this one too. If you don’t, there’s nothing about KKFOS that’s going to make it the one for you.

Klown business

Source: IllFonic

Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game is a detailed asymmetrical horror game that gives a lot of love to its cult classic source material. The weird and wacky nature of the film is a perfect fit for the genre, and the gameplay design gives purpose to just about everything you do. I had frustrations with the locomotion and match length, but it didn’t ruin what was overall an enjoyable multiplayer experience.

This review is based on a Steam code provided by the publisher. Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game launches on June 4, 2024, for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.

Review for Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game

8 / 10


  • Excellent use of the Killer Klowns IP
  • Impressive sound design
  • A solid balance of power between Klowns and Humans
  • Engaging minigames


  • Clunky movement
  • Matches are too long